The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

March 21, 2011

Lift from Liz

Repella’s 26 help WVU beat Houston

WACO, Texas — West Virginia came into its NCAA tournament opener with a big advantage over Houston in key areas such as size and postseason experience.

Turns out, luck was on the Mountaineers’ side, too, as they banked in a pair of key 3-pointers on the way to a 79-73 victory over the Cougars on Sunday.

“We work on that stuff in practice,” coach Mike Carey said, trying to stifle a smile.

“Not really,” he added, the smile escaping.

Liz Repella scored 26 points, and Madina Ali added 13 points and 15 rebounds to lift this senior-filled club into the second round for the second straight season and the fourth time in five years (2007, ’08 and ’10).

Next comes the hard part for West Virginia — trying to win back-to-back games. The Mountaineers (24-9) haven’t done that since January. They will play Tuesday night against top-seeded Baylor or 16th-seeded Prairie View A&M.

West Virginia was once ranked No. 6, but imploded since then, winning only half its Big East games and limping into this tournament as a No. 9 seed, stuck in a 3-6 rut. Carey said this game epitomized the up-and-down season because his players didn’t stop working hard.

The Mountaineers fell behind early, then took control with a 16-1 run. They led by 12 at halftime thanks to their first banked-in 3, but Carey told them during the break that they could’ve been up by 20 if they hadn’t missed so many layups and other gimmes. They knew it, too.

They stretched the lead to 15 with time winding down, then got tentative and Houston capitalized. The Cougars got within three when Repella answered with the next banked-in 3. There was still 3:26 left, but Houston would never get any closer.

“I was practicing it all day yesterday,” Repella snickered. “We needed a score there. I was just lucky that it went in. That might’ve been my first banked-3 ever.”

The eighth-seeded Cougars (26-6) were in the tournament for the first time since 2005, trying to prove their undefeated run through the Conference USA regular season would hold up against a middle-of-the-pack team from the Big East.

Coach Todd Buchanan felt so good about his team’s chances that he sat Courtney Taylor, the two-time C-USA player of the year, the final 10:47 of the first half after she picked up her second foul. The Cougars went from leading by three to trailing by 12 during her absence. She played nearly the entire second half, and finished with 17 points, but it wasn’t enough.

“It was very frustrating,” Taylor said. “It just hurts when you can’t go out there and help your team.”

Buchanan, in his first year as UH’s coach, said it’s been his philosophy over 23 years of coaching that a game isn’t

decided in the first half. He was confident the Cougars could regain the lead with a refreshed Taylor in the second half.

West Virginia prevented that in part because of its height advantage. The Mountaineers outrebounded the Cougars 52-36.

“Their pursuit of the basketball is incredible,” Buchanan said. “That’s where I felt like their size was to a certain point changed the game, somewhat. We would play defense for 22, 24 seconds, shot goes up, in and out, then there they are. They beat us to the spot. They were a little quicker at times than we were today. That’s the real part that hurts, because that’s not been us all year. It couldn’t have shown up at a worst time and on a bigger stage.”

Brittney Scott led Houston with 24 points, including a series of 3s in the final minutes that kept things close.

West Virginia’s Asya Bussie scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half. Vanessa House added nine points, including a jumper and a tough layup down the stretch.

 

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos