The curtain came down on the Cougars’ season, as the final act played out with a 79-73 loss to West Virginia in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Cougars were held to 25 points in the first half, and despite speeding play up in the second half and scoring 48 points, they were ill-equiped to handle the Mountaineers size and length.
The Cougars made several pushes in the second half and were within five points several times, but could not overtake the Mountaineers.
West Virginia was well prepared for the Cougars breakneck-offensive pace and kept them from consistently setting the tempo. The offense was especially limited in the first half when Courtney Taylor only played six minutes because of foul trouble.
Brittney Scott and Lesslee Mason kept UH in the game when Taylor was out and Porsche Landry was struggling — 0-for-4 from the field with three turnovers in the first half.
Scott would finish with a team-high 24 points, knocking down four 3-pointers. Mason finished with a double-double, recording 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Taylor would score 14 second half points to finish with 17.
Taylor’s absence was notable, as the Mountaineers outscored UH 22-4 in the first half in the paint.
With Taylor playing the entire second half, the Cougars would win that battle 22-18, but it was not enough.
West Virginia was able to slow down the Cougars with possessions that consistently used a healthy chunk of the shot clock.The Mountaineers extended those possessions by dominating the offensive glass by a 26 to 10 margin.
Madina Ali and Korinne Campbell combined to grab 23 rebounds for West Virginia, 15 of those coming off at the offensive end. As a team, the Mountaineers outrebounded UH 52 to 36.
Liz Repella scored a game-high 26 points for West Virginia, converting on 11-of-12 from the line and pulling down seven rebounds.
Several important players from this year’s team have run out of eligibility, including seniors Taylor, Mason, Scott, Brittany Mason, Jasmine Johnson and Megan Morton. Landry and Roxanna Button are the only returning rotation players, but the Cougars do have a strong class of players coming in.