WISE - Sophomore Judy Kaylnn Cummings made just one shot Wednesday but, it was the biggest shot to date of her collegiate career. The 5-foot-6 guard took an inbounds pass with four seconds to go in a tie game and raced toward half court where she heaved a 45-foot jumper that swished through the bottom of the net to propel UVa-Wise to an 87-84 Mountain East Conference victory over West Virginia State at the Prior Center.
UVa-Wise (3-3, 2-1 MEC) held a seven point lead with 2:22 to play when freshman Mackenzie King canned one of her season-high four 3-pointers as part of a season-high 21-point performance.
Trailing 84-77, West Virginia State (2-3, 1-2 MEC) chipped away as Jordan Miller made back-to-back buckets to make it an 84-81 contest with under a minute to play. A possession later, Amari Grace scored in the paint to make it a one point game.
The Cavaliers would then turn the ball over, giving the Yellow Jackets the ball with a chance to win the game. Anna Ross would be fouled on a potential game-winning shot attempt and the forward would miss the first foul shot before making the second to tie the game.
From there, Cummings made her heroic play to send Jamie Cluesman's team to a 2-1 start in league play.
The two schools would go back-and-forth throughout the night. West Virginia State jumped out to a 26-22 advantage after the opening quarter by making 16 trips to the free throw line.
UVa-Wise battled back to within two points at halftime behind sophomore Hanna Oliver's trio of 3-pointers. The guard netted 11 of her 20 points in the half and the team also enjoyed a 28-to-23 rebounding advantage in the opening half en route to 10 second chance points.
The score would change hands four times in the third period before an 8-0 scoring spurt by the Oliver-King duo propelled the hosts to a 67-60 lead.
The Yellow Jackets countered with a run of their own finishing the period on an 8-3 run to trail 70-68 going to the fourth quarter.
UVa-Wise started the period on an 11-3 run to seemingly put the game away before the West Virginia State scoring run set the stage for the game's ending.
King added a season-high eight rebounds and a season-best five assists to her team-high 21 points while Webb tallied a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Overall, UVa-Wise won the rebounding battle 54-to-45 and scored 21 second chance points while outscoring the guests 30-to-16 in the paint.
Cluesman also received 40 points off the bench; in addition to King's big night, Kalee Johnson (6), Cummings (5), Ada Stanley (4) and Nokomis Williams (4) also found the scoring column in a reserve role.
West Virginia State went to the foul line 44 times in the game making 30; combined, the two schools were assessed 53 fouls and shot 67 free throws.
The Yellow Jackets were led by Lyrin Hatcher's game-high 25 points, Miller (16) and Grace (11) also registered double figure scoring in the loss.
Next up, UVa-Wise will be on the road to face the University of Charleston in a 2 p.m. tip. Fans can listen to the game live on WLSD Radio 92.5 FM or online at wlsdradio.com