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S-TU battles FSU for trip to Charleston

by Danny Carpenter

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

For the third time this season, rivals Salem-Teikyo and Fairmont State battle in women's basketball, but more is at stake in tonight's game at the Feaster Center.

The winner of today's 7:30 p.m. game advances to the second round of the West Virginia Conference tournament at the Charleston Civic Center on Wednesday.

Despite defeating Salem (9-17, 5-14 WVC) in the two previous meetings, Fairmont State coach Jim Brinkman knows his team can't afford to look ahead to the second round.

"It's a new season, and everyone starts 0-0," Brinkman said. "It'll be a tight ball game because we know each other so well. The players know each other pretty well, and coaches are good friends."

Brinkman's counterpart, S-TU coach Roger Lefebvre, won't be able to witness the game. He was ejected during the Tigers' game on Saturday against Wheeling Jesuit.

"I have 110 percent confidence in (my assistant) coach (Dave) Crosier," Lefebvre said. "He knows what we want to do. I'm not worried and to be honest it may be good for us."

Both teams will be trying to bounce back from losses. Fairmont has dropped two straight, while Salem is riding a nine-game skid.

"We can't afford to get off to a slow start," Brinkman said. "We were down early against Wheeling on Thursday and West Liberty on Saturday and had to spend the rest of the game to get back in it."

Lefebvre hopes the return of shooting guard Chrissy Luchuck gives his team a lift. She's missed the past two games with a back injury.

"I asked her if she thought she could play, and she said 'No way, I'm not missing this game,'" Lefebvre said.

Luchuck's presence should help Erica Cash and Brooke Lamb. Cash leads S-TU in scoring (17.5) and rebounding (11.4), while Lamb has been the Tigers' lone outside threat without Luchuck.

Alisa Schroder has played well the past week for S-TU.

For Fairmont, the offense starts with Kara Morris. Morris averages 15 points and 9.5 rebounds.

"She'll have to be our leader," Brinkman said. "When she plays well, it opens things up for Jennifer Wilson inside, which makes things easier to hit our shots and get into our presses."

Wilson averages 11.9 points, 8.2 rebounds for Fairmont.

Other first-round games tonight are No. 8 Concord (9-16, 8-11) at No. 9 WVU-Tech (11-15, 8-11), No. 13 Bluefield State (9-17, 5-14) at No. 4 Wheeling Jesuit (17-8, 13-6), No. 14 Davis & Elkins (5-21, 3-16) at No. 3 Shepherd (18-8, 14-5), No. 11 Charleston (8-18, 7-12) at No. 6 West Virginia Wesleyan (12-14, 10-9) and No. 10 Alderson-Broaddus (7-19, 7-12) at No. 7 West Virginia State (15-11, 10-9).

No. 1 West Liberty (20-6, 16-3) and No. 2 Glenville State (18-8, 15-4) earned Wednesday's first-round byes.

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