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SATURDAY, MARCH 02, 2013
FALCONS CLAIM 2013 WVIAC TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Fairmont State used a furious 22-4 run in the second half to defeat Seton Hill, 65-54, to claim the 2013 WVIAC Tournament Championship at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum.

Senior Kaitlin Snyder was named the Tournament MVP for her efforts in this weeks tournament. Snyder, Hailey Garrett and Brianna Welch were all named to the WVIAC Tournament Team for their performance in the tournament.

FSU improves to 23-9 and has earned an automatic bid in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Seton Hill will finish the season with a 19-13 record.

Snyder recorded a double-double for the Falcons with 18 points and 12 rebounds in the championship game. Snyder went 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Snyder became the all-team leading scorer in women's basketball history at Fairmont State, passing Kristin Gutuso's 2,041 points as a member of the Falcons. Snyder now has 2,046 career points at FSU.

Garrett added 16 points for the Falcons and Hallie Gunnoe recorded a double-double off the bench with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Tiffany Nicholson had a team-high five assists and three steals in the victory.

Paige Alviani scored 18 points to lead the Griffins but struggled from behind the arc, going just 1-for-10. Katie Guttuso added 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists for SHU.

Fairmont State shot 48 percent from the field, including a scorching 58 percent in the second half. Seton Hill managed just 38 percent shooting for the game and were plagued by nine second-half turnovers. The Falcons held a 36-29 advantage on the glass and hit 16-of-19 free throws in the game. SHU made just 4-of-7 attempts from the line.

After opening up an early 6-0 lead, the Falcons went on a seven minute scoring drought and Seton Hill went up 13-6 with 10:04 remaining in the half. Fairmont State would trim the lead to just three points after a jumper by Briana Welch with 7:24 remaining. The Griffins responded with a 12-4 run capped by a jumper by Meghan Mastroianni with 1:42 remaining in the half to give SHU a 27-16 advantage. Snyder and Welch added buckets late in the half to trim the halftime lead to 27-20 in favor of SHU.

The Falcons were plagued by 10 first half turnovers that turned into 10 points for the Griffins. FSU held a 20-15 advantage on the glass. Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field in the opening half. Alviani led the Griffins with 11 points in the opening half. Snyder and Welch each had six for the Falcons.

The Griffins grabbed its largest lead of the game, 32-20, after a jumper by Clare Berenato and a three by Gattuso to open the second half. The Falcons would go on a furious 22-4 rally over the next nine minutes of the game to grab a 42-36 lead with 9:24 to play in the game. Gunnoe scored the final seven points of the stretch to give the Falcons their first lead. The Griffins refused to go away quietly but would get no closer than four points the rest of the way as FSU hit free throws late to wrap up the 65-54 victory and the championship.

The Falcons will now wait until the NCAA Tournament Selections are announced on Sunday, March 10.