The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

February 6, 2011

Pitt spoils WVU women’s rally, pulls out 60-53 victory

MORGANTOWN — Everything seemed to be in place for an incredible comeback for the West Virginia University women’s basketball team Saturday afternoon against Backyard Brawl rival Pitt.

They had erased all of what had once been a 15-point lead, came roaring from behind before 8,025 frenzied fans, the fourth-largest crowd ever for WVU women’s basketball, and even taken a four-point lead.

There was no reason to believe they could not protect it over the final 2 minutes and 40 seconds, especially considering they had won their last 31 consecutive games in the Coliseum, last losing on Feb. 24, 2009, to – yes — Pitt.

No reason, that is, except right about then the men’s basketball team arrived from Villanova.

You might have heard by now what happened to the men there, losing 66-50 to Villanova.

Call it bad vibes. Call it negative karma. Whatever it was, the sky fell in on the Mountaineer women like ice off the roof of Cowboy Stadium and the season literally went spiraling down the drain, 60-53.

From that moment on, Pitt twice found Taneisha Harrison for 3-point baskets, allowing her to finish with 30 points, and it was over.

The first of Harrison’s 3’s was a long distance scorcher, one that led someone to ask her after the game if she realized how far away she was.

“I didn’t know where I was,” she answered. We believe she meant on the court, but as unconscious as she was throwing the ball into the hoop 12 of 16 times, she might not have known she was in Morgantown … or West Virginia, for that matter. “I was hitting for the whole game. I shot with confidence.”

Indeed, she did. On the other hand, West Virginia shot like they were blindfolded and standing before a firing squad. The performance they put on trying to get the ball in the basket was mystifyingly brutal, shooting just 30.8 percent for the game. They took 12 more shots than Pitt and made three fewer.

Madina Ali was the only one who shot with precision, hitting 5 of 7 from the floor and finishing with 13 points, which is all the more amazing considering it came in just 15 minutes on the floor. Between her bad leg and foul trouble, coach Mike Carey just couldn’t keep her there, and without her his team was listless and without life and unable to score.

The two centers, for example – Aysa Bussie and Ayana Dunning — went 0-for-10 from the floor, and if they were closely guarded the shots they were taking were not exactly 10s on a degree of difficulty.

Only Liz Repella, the senior captain, who has shed her blonde look for her original black, was a force, scoring 21 points grabbing eight rebounds, dishing out three assists, recording three steals and playing 40 minutes.

Interestingly, in that loss to Pitt 32 games ago, Repella played 39 minutes and led WVU with 16 points while Pitt’s Harrison scored only 6 that day.

“If everyone went that hard or cared as much as she does, we’d be in a better situation,” Carey said.

Repella seemed to be battling back tears when she met with the media following the game, talking about how she was trying to lead the Mountaineer comeback.

“I was trying to get people fired up,” she said. “We need more energy. It just hasn’t been there. We have to find it or we are going to continue to get beat.”

Certainly, Carey is perplexed, especially about what happens when Ali leaves the floor.

“We need her in there,” he said. “When she’s gone we get no energy from the 4 spot. I’m going to start using some kids in there to try and get some energy.”

So now it’s back to the drawing board for Carey, who has got another rather challenging task in front of him, so challenging that he could make light of it.

“The good thing is we’ve got to play UConn on Tuesday,” he said.

Someone wondered if it was good because by now they have the Huskies, defending national champions, overconfident.

“We have everyone in the league overconfident,” Carey said.

E-mail Bob Hertzel at

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