CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Fairmont State will play for the 2013 WVIAC Championship on Saturday afternoon after picking up a 71-63 victory over West Liberty on Friday afternoon at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum.
The Falcons will play Seton Hill on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. for the conference championship.
Fairmont State (22-9) was led by a team-high 20 points from Kaitlin Snyder in the victory. Snyder knocked down 11-of-14 free throws, including seven in the final 1:07 to help the Falcons close out the victory. Despite early foul trouble, Hailey Garrett picked up her 13th double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Hallie Gunnoe (11) and Tiffany Nicholson (10) also reached double figures for the Falcons. Snyder and Nicholson each had four assists and four steals in the game.
The Hilltoppers (21-8) got a game-high 26 points from Hillary Southworth. Emily Blevins added 13 points and a team-high seven boards for WLU. Meghan Wiseman also scored in double figures with 11 points and Liz Flowers had a team-high six assists.
FSU shot 39 percent from the field and held a 35-29 advantage on the glass. The Hilltoppers shot 45 percent on the afternoon. The FSU defense forced 20 turnovers and turned them into 32 points on the offensive end. The Falcons also pulled down 16-9 advantage on the offensive glass, including 13 in the opening half.
Fairmont State opened up an early 8-3 lead in the first half before the Hilltoppers went on a 15-1 run to take an 18-9 with 9:40 to play in the half. FSU would score the next eleven points and ended the half on a 20-9 run to go into the locker room with a 31-27 advantage. Garrett and Gunnoe scored 14 points for the Falcons during that stretch.
Garrett and Gunnoe scored nine points each to lead the Falcons. Garrett also pulled down six boards despite playing just 13 minutes because of early foul trouble. The Falcons shot just 35 percent from the field; however they pulled down 13 offensive rebounds in the opening half. The Hilltoppers shot 41 percent from the field in the opening half and were led by 12 points from Southworth.
The Hilltoppers opened the second half with a 9-4 spurt capped by a Southworth three to grab a 36-35 lead with 15:58 remaining in the game. The next eight minutes of the half featured four ties and neither team was able to grab a lead larger than four points over that stretch. With the scored tied With the Hilltoppers holding a 52-51 advantage at the 7:49 mark of the second half, would go on a 7-2 spurt after a three-point play by Welch to give the Falcons a four point lead with 4:18 to play.
The two teams would trade buckets and Wiseman went 1-of-2 from the line to cut the FSU lead to 60-57 with 3:16 to play. The Falcons went 11-of-12 from the free throw line in the final 2:17 and limited the Hilltoppers to just one field goal to wrap up the 71-63 victory. The FSU defense limited West Liberty to just three field goals over the final six minutes of the game.