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Takeaways: What Went Wrong in WVU Women’s Basketball’s Loss to No. 10 Texas



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WVU Women’s Basketball suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday, unable to find enough of a spark to overcome the No. 10 Texas Longhorns despite playing in front of a raucous crowd that packed the lower bowl at the WVU Coliseum. 

The Mountaineers, for their part, have been one of the best teams in college basketball this season, ranked No. 24 with a gleaming 13-1 record. They force the most turnovers of any major program, and entered Saturday with Top 30 marks in both assists and shooting percentage. 

West Virginia’s matchup with Texas marked a clash of ideologies: the traditional Longhorns, powered by one of the most talented frontcourts in the country, against the small ball reliant Mountaineers. In this case, the Longhorns became both the unstoppable force and the immovable object, winning 70-49 on the road. They made 53.2 percent of shots and dominated down low while limiting the Mountaineers to a season-worst 26.7 shooting percentage. 

Mountaineers Forced Off Their Game Plan

Following the lopsided loss, WVU Women’s Basketball head coach Mark Kellogg said Texas’ superior size forced the Mountaineers off their game plan.  

“Texas, they’re a top ten team for a reason. Their size, I think, bothered us, their pressure, a little bit at times, bothered us in the half court,” Kellogg said. “Just never found an offensive rhythm whatsoever.”

Knowing that Texas could dominate the paint, West Virginia looked to the three-ball as an equalizer. Instead they shot 4-of-31 from beyond the arc. 

Kellogg said the poor shooting performance wasn’t for lack of trying. From his courtside view, he thought the Mountaineers did a good job of creating open looks along the perimeter early, giving them a chance to stay in the game. 

“I liked the shots we got early in the game. We started forcing them as the game went [on], we got a little frustrated,” Kellogg said. “We just didn’t make them.”

Their shooting woes compounded as the game went on: trailing by double digits in the second half, high-percentage shots—not an easy feat themselves, given the Longhorns’ presence in the paint—weren’t an option as they tried to gain some ground.

“Normally you would want to find other ways to try to score and get some paint touches—which we did—but then you’re chipping away, down 20, with two’s,” Kellogg said. “We never punched them… I wanted to see what they would do if we kinda punched them and made a run at them. When you only score 49 you’re not gonna really make any run.”

Schaefer Shouts Out West Virginia

Texas head coach Vic Schaefer, meanwhile, had nothing but good things to say about the WVU Women’s Basketball, describing his meticulous preparation for the ranked matchup.

“That team, I haven’t slept in two nights worrying about those three guards,” Schaefer said, referring to JJ Quinerly, Jordan Harrison, and one of Lauren Fields and Kyah Watson.

Schaefer went on to compliment Kellogg and the Mountaineers’ passionate crowd, describing the WVU Coliseum as a place that no opponent in the Big 12 would want to play.

“That team we just played is really good, y’all. He’s [Kellogg] doing an unbelievable job, he’s changed the whole way this place looks. The fans that were in there today, I hope they’re drawing like that every game, ‘cause it was really good to see all those folks in there,” Schaefer said.

“It’s a tough road trip, and it’s tougher now because of the team, because of how they’re coached, how well they play, how hard they play. This won’t be an easy trip for anybody in our league, and there’s going to be a bunch of people coming in here and they’re going to limp out of here.”

That’s high praise coming from a coach who knows elite basketball like few others: the 2018 Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year, Schaefer won the 2011 National Championship as an associate head coach at Texas A&M, and made the Final Four in consecutive years at Mississippi State. 

Looking On the Bright Side

Kellogg complimented the Mountaineers fan base as well, though it came with a twinge of regret that he and his team couldn’t put together a stronger performance to reward the crowd.

“It was the best crowd [this season], for sure. I wish we could’ve played a little bit better for the ones that maybe came for the first time and hadn’t seen us play. I think we’re a little bit better than that—I know we’re better than that,” Kellogg said. “Disappointed in that one, that we couldn’t put on a little bit better show for them.”

Kellogg said he alluded to the home crowd during timeouts: when the Mountaineers made big plays, the stands responded with gusto… but those moments were few and far between. 

“That was a fun environment, we just could never get them in it,” Kellogg said. “I kept telling them at timeouts, ‘get this crowd a reason to get you guys going and feed off their energy,’ but we just never did.”

The Mountaineers also showed that they could maintain a high level of defensive play against top teams. West Virginia forced 24 turnovers, just one below their season average, creating plenty of takeaways despite the quality of their opponent.

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