In the biggest win in UVa-Wise sports history, the women’s basketball team defeated the No. 2 ranked team in the nation, the Shawnee State Bears, 63-42.
The Bears jumped out to an early 11-6 lead with 12:46 left in the first half. Both teams went scoreless until 6:51 when Diane Abbady made two free throws for the Bears.
The Cavs used a 3-pointer by sophomore Katie Jo Lester to get within 15-11 of the Bears with 5:19 until halftime. The lead grew when Alex Pohl hit a jumper to give the Bears a 10-point advantage over the Cavs with two minutes until halftime.
After finding themselves down 10 points, the Cavs turned up the heat. Senior Chelsea Cluesman found sophomore Kenzie Poindexter on a great pass to cut the lead to eight. Cluesman later found her sister, freshman Makenzie Cluesman, for a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 23-8 with 1:14 left until halftime.
Makenzie. Cluesman stepped up for the Cavs by running the point after the loss of senior Hannah Powers for the season. Cluesman finished with a balanced stat line of eight points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals.
“Her composure is phenomenal for a freshman guard,” said Head Coach Kristin Kunzman. “We needed her to step up and she has.”
A steal by Lester led to a basket by Chelsea Cluesman to get the lead down to three. Makenzie Cluesman hit a layup with five seconds until halftime to send the Bears to the locker room with a 23-22 lead over the Cavs. The Cavs ended the half on a 9-0 run.
The Cluesmans and Lester combined for 15 of the Cavs’ 22 points at halftime.
In the second half, it was all Cavs as senior Charlotte Reasor hit a three-pointer to start a 7-0 run to begin the half. The Cavs wouldn’t look back.
“We made simple adjustments within the zone defense they ran,” Kunzman said.
A Lester 3-pointer at the 14:17 mark in the second-half gave the Cavs a 12 point lead. Baskets by Chelsea Cluesman, Reasor and Lester set up for a Reynesha Archer three-pointer that gave the Cavs a 52-30 lead over the Bears. The 22 point lead over the No. 2 ranked Bears officially put them on upset alert and a seven point steak by Chelsea Cluesman sealed the deal for the upset as the Cavs knocked off the Bears 63-42.
Chelsea Cluesman finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. With her performance, Cluesman moved into 11th place on the women’s all-time scoring list.
“Shawnee normally kills us, and we beat the No. 2 team in the nation,” Cluesman said. “I’m speechless. This is huge.”
Lester played a major role in the Cavs’ win, scoring 15 points on three three-pointers and collecting five steals.
“We get mad at her when she doesn’t shoot the ball,” Kunzman said. “She’s a great shooter.”
The Cavs outscored the Bears 41-19 in the second half as their defense held the Bears to 42 points, and had been averaging over 72 points per contest.
“Our defensive effort was fabulous,” Kunzman said. “We carried our intensity over into the second half.”
The Cavs forced 26 Bears turnovers and held them to under 30 percent shooting on the night.
“We have focused on the little things and that paid off tonight,” Lester said.
With the upset win, the Cavs move to 4-7 on the young season and to 2-3 in Mid-South play.