MORGANTOWN — After which there have been none …
West Virginia’s girls’s basketball crew was eradicated from the NCAA Championships within the first spherical Thursday in School Park, Md., simply as the boys’s crew was a day earlier in Birmingham, Ala.
The ladies, carrying a No. 10 seed, bumped into an Arizona crew, seeded seventh, that simply had slightly bit an excessive amount of in all areas and put collectively a robust second-half to assert a 75-62 victory that in all probability outlined the variations between the 2 groups.
“I assumed our younger women battled,” Coach Daybreak Plitzuweit stated. “We began down within the first quarter, type of dug ourselves a gap. I assumed our resilience and our toughness type of confirmed by. I assumed we continued to work, to assault.”
The Mountaineers bought scuffed round within the first quarter, giving up 28 factors, which was a season-high for the twenty fourth ranked Wildcats, falling behind 28-17.
“They actually pushed the ball in transition. We had a tough time getting again and stopping the ball. We fouled lots within the first quarter,” senior guard Madisen Smith, having performed her remaining recreation at WVU after a profession that put her among the many finest to play on the college.
Recovering its composure within the second quarter, the Mountaineers narrowed the halftime deficit to 40-35 and turned the sport of their favor and made a robust run at Arizona to slim the distinction to 50-47.
The Wildcats, nonetheless, didn’t panic, though they have been with out their finest participant, Shaina Pellington, and easily started pounding the ball inside the place Cate Reese may compile a game-leading 25 factors and the place WVU’s former teammate, Esmery Martinez, would carve a double-double out of 13 factors and a dozen rebounds.
“It was cool to play towards her. Good to see her once more. She’s an awesome participant,” Smith stated.
“For me, it wasn’t too bizarre. I solely performed along with her for a yr. I imply, I’m cool along with her. We was laughing and joking on the court docket,” WVU’s JJ Quinerly, who completed the excessive scorer with 19 factors. “Simply one other participant, simply one other recreation..
Quinerly, it turned out, was the one offense WVU had after they drew to inside three factors. She scored 12 of her 19 factors within the second half. At one level she scored 11 of the 13 factors may muster at the moment.
Arizona’s ball dealing with, it had 19 assists on 30 baskets, and its rebounding, hauling down 49 rebounds to only 35 for the Mountaineers, allowed the Wildcats to regulate every thing concerning the recreation.
WVU’s lack of ability to do something on its offensive glass was crushing because it had solely 3 second-chance factors.
Quinerly wouldn’t pin that on a measurement distinction, although.
“I don’t assume it was their measurement,” she stated, “I can’t actually say it damage us. Extra that we may have simply did higher. We may have did higher simply preserving them off the boards, every thing, so…”
So, it ended badly. WVU completed with a 19-12 report, in all probability attaining extra that was anticipated in a transition yr.
“I informed our gamers within the locker room I don’t assume many individuals, when this entire factor began lower than a yr in the past, would have stated that our younger women would have had an opportunity to be battling and have an opportunity to do the issues that we’ve carried out this yr,” Plitzuweit stated.
Earlier than the sport, Plitzuweit says she shared a narrative along with her crew that went together with this season.
“I’m not an excellent golfer, proper? When golf balls have been invented, they have been clean. There weren’t dents or dimples in them. As quickly as they’d get hit by a golf membership, they realized the extra density they’d within the golf ball, the farther it might go,” she started.
“That was type of like us in the course of the course of our time rising, there was a number of adversity, a number of studying.
“When there’s a transition, it’s difficult,” she continued. “Our younger women needed to study a brand new system, a brand new fashion, all these kind of issues. We weren’t as profitable as we wished to be early on.
We continued to battle, develop, put some dents within the golf ball, if you’ll. It stored going additional. Once we completed, I assumed our younger women actually battled and continued to get higher because the season wore on.”
That’s simply her manner of trying towards subsequent yr, as if standing on the tee and shouting “Fore!”
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