BATON ROUGE, La. — West Virginia faced a roaring road crowd at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, on top of facing No. 7 seed LSU in an NCAA second-round game. In a topsy-turvy second half, WVU erased a nine-point lead, built a seven-point margin, and then lost by nine 76-67.

A recap of the in-game updates as the Mountaineers (30-5) faltered late against the Tigers (21-12) and fell short of the Sweet 16:

LSU 76, WEST VIRGINIA 67 (Final)
Asya Bussie scored 21 points, all in the second half, to lead West Virginia, while Bria Holmes added 12 and Christal Caldwell closed her career with a 3-of-19 shooting night for 10 inefficient points. LSU’s rebounding margin bulged to 55-40 by the end, because WVU stopped attacking the LSU bigs who survived the final 12 minutes with four fouls. But Danielle Ballard was a rebound-grabbing machine with 15 boards that went along with 22 points.
LSU 76, WEST VIRGINIA 67 (Final)
What happened? West Virginia seemed to be in control late in the game, and maybe it felt like it was, but LSU scorched the Mountaineers for a 20-4 game-ending run. Tough to explain how it went wrong, but not what went wrong: Bussie stopped getting touches on the block and short-handed LSU scored on its last 10 possessions. WVU may not have had a worse defensive stretch all season.
LSU 70, WEST VIRGINIA 65 (0:52 second half)
WVU led 63-56 with 5:05 left and then turned stagnant and timid on offense as LSU has sparked to life with a 14-2 run. The Mountaineers suddenly look dazed and a step slow, while the home team is energized and made 6-of-9 shots.
WEST VIRGINIA 60, LSU 56 (7:58 second half)
Holmes is a hard-luck 1-of-6 from 3-point range with three rim-outs in the bunch. That makes her 2-of-18 from deep in the tournament, but again, she’s missing by mere centimeters. … This game may boil down to whether LSU’s bigs can avoid their fifth fouls. McKinney ended LSU’s elongated field-goal drought with an offensive putback.
WEST VIRGINIA 57, LSU 50 (9:57 second half)
The Mountaineers went on a 16-2 run in the past 4:53 and Bussie turned amazingly assertive with LSU’s tandem bigs on the bench. How assertive? After going scoreless in the first half, she has 16 points in the last 10 minutes, including 12-of-14 at the foul line.
WEST VIRGINIA 52, LSU 50 (12:04 second half)
The Mountaineers used an 11-2 run to tie it at 48-all, capped by Taylor Palmer’s 3 off a kickout pass from Bussie. The bigger happening came a minute later when Plaisance and McKinney picked up their fourth fouls within a 31-second span. Credit Bussie and Averee Fields for attacking the lane and pressuring the LSU bigs, who haven’t backed off.
LSU 48, WEST VIRGINIA 41 (15:28 second half)
The Tigers zipped out of halftime on a 7-0 run, getting up-close looks that couldn’t have pleased Mike Carey. If there was a bright spot for WVU it was Bussie beating LSU’s defense downcourt for a transition layup, her first points of the night. She also drew the third fouls on McKinney and Plaisance.
LSU 37, WEST VIRGINIA 35 (halftime)
Sometimes these stats are mere trivial consequence, but we’ll throw it out there anyway: West Virginia is 6-4 when trailing at the half. The glass half-full crowd can point out that WVU is still over .500 in those instances. The pessimists will point out that all of this season’s losses have come after being down.
LSU 37, WEST VIRGINIA 35 (halftime)
Holmes tops the West Virginia scorers with 10 points, while Caldwell has nine and Stepney six. But Bussie was 0-of-3 before encountering foul trouble and she was struggling to create shooting angles for herself in the lane. Dating back to the Big 12 tournament loss to Baylor, Bussie has two baskets in the last two-and-a-half games. … LSU is shooting 37 percent to West Virginia’s 34, but the Tigers own a 26-21 rebounding edge. They’re also 11-of-11 at the foul line. … The Tigers have some moderate foul trouble themselves with its two bigs—Shanece McKinney and Theresa Plaisance—picking up two each. The last one on Plaisance just moments before the half looked to be a clean block against Crystal Leary.  LSU also lost shooting guard Jeanne Kenny to a possible concussion in the first half, so her absence could stress an LSU bench that’s not as deep as WVU’s.
LSU 37, WEST VIRGINIA 35 (halftime)
Danielle Ballard did a masterful job on LSU’s end-of-half possession—driving, twisting and creating space against WVU’s long defender Jess Harlee to score on a floater. Ballard has 12 at intermission to lead the home-standing Tigers. … Mountaineers point guard Linda Stepney—who knocked down two 3s after making 11 in WVU’s first 34 games—picked up her third foul with 1:43 left trying to tip a rebound. Good thing for Mike Carey his bench is deep, because he might need every bit of it tonight.
WEST VIRGINIA 27, LSU 23 (5:22 first half)
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Holmes and Christal Caldwell keyed an 8-0 run, which was part on an extended 18-6 run that proved West Virginia hasn’t panicked after LSU’s blistering start. Gosh, it really helps to have five seniors keeping their poise in a loser-go-home scenario.
LSU 21, WEST VIRGINIA 19 (7:46 first half)
Asya Bussie picked up her second foul and the WVU women are being outshot and outrebounded, and yet … it’s a one-possession game. Feels like LSU is dominating, but the scoreboard doesn’t lie. The Tigers’ eight turnovers—remember, they get loose with the basketball—have helped West Virginia weather the early storm.
LSU 17, WEST VIRGINIA 9 (11:59 first half)
Wow, did Shanece McKinney ever give LSU a dominant opening six minutes: Scoring seven points on 3-of-3 shooting and blocking four shots. And then coach Nikki Caldwell sat the senior center. I understand conserving a player’s energy, but during a stint when she’s absolutely owning the paint? … West Virginia has started 0-of-7 from 3-point range, missing mostly uncontested looks. Bria Holmes has missed three, which might not normally be alarming except for the fact she was 1-of-12 on Sunday. At one point does her confidence start to slip? At least Holmes is driving to the rim as well, the only reason she has five points.
PREGAME NOTES
LSU coach Nikki Caldwell has an interesting take on forgiving her team’s sloppiness: “Well, we’re going to turn it over 20 times. We joke about it with our kids because I feel as though they don’t intentionally go into games wanting to turn it over. It’s just that they have the freedom, they have the play action that allows multiple people to touch the basketball. If we wanted to limit our turnovers, all we needed to do was just keep the ball in one person’s hand and just say milk the clock, milk the clock, then go. But because we want to develop our kids … it’s about allowing our underclassmen to have that freedom and to make those mistakes because through those mistakes you will grow as a basketball player.”
bubble graphic

26

bubble graphic

Comments

  • TruthTeller

    Somebody needs to grow a pair and find out what is going on at WVU. Since WVU has joined the BIg 12, WVU seems to have taken a back seat to winning the big games. It seems as if some one is pulling the strings to prevent WVU from winning the big games that mean the most. Its as if they are being controlled by someone. They are only allowed to go so far and then out of no where they stop. I noticed this after the first year right after WVU beat Texas at Texas. It was if a phone call was made and then BOOM the team could not win a game all of a sudden.
    A team that put 70 on Clemson and seemed unstoppable going into the season 5-0 all of a sudden just stops winning and gets blown out by teams. HMMMM? Seems suspect to me!!
    Somebody made a phone call to WVU. Somebody high up is controlling the success of WVU. So this is what happens when you go to a bigger conference. More money but more CONTROL!!! I would rather see WVU in the top 25 and going to bowls instead of being controlled by some rich people. Bring back to good old days. It was more enjoyable to watch and enjoy.

  • Troll

    So they lost, oh well when it's all said and done guess what, there will only be one champion and hundreds of losers. That being said it doesn't mean the hundreds of losers had bad seasons, quit nit picking and just be glad they had a good season.

  • jack

    It's difficult to win on another team's home court, but you don't make excuses for that. This is a veteran team of seniors as well as a veteran coach and they should have showed more poise down the stretch. A 16 point swing in the last five minutes. Still proud of the ladies on a very good season. Hated to see it end this way.

  • jay zoom

    all you clowns stop crying and posting blame. regardless of what happened these ladies are WINNERS. I've seen the men do the same thing over the years. more so the last two in basketball with Mr. ONE AND DONE. and Ollies adopted son 4-8 Dana. Lets go ladies the season is over for some but the rest of you next year will carry on the tradition along with your incoming freshman. (LOVE YOU LADIES)

  • TW EAGLE

    CHOKE CHOKE CHOKE

    I haven't seen such dismal shooting since truck Bryant was throwing bricks at the backboard for the mens side . . .

    the five iffy fouls calls in a little over a minute span right after the 10 minute mark didn't help (sent harlee to the bench) , BUT , for the all out effort of bussie , the lady Mounties might have been shut out in the 2nd half . . .

    they were handling the ball like it was a live grenade , and no one wanted it in their hands . . .

    CHOKE CHOKE CHOKE

  • Aaron

    They got outscored 20 to 3 over the last five minutes, shot 30% overall, 23% on 3's and got out rebounded by 16 while giving up 24 offense of rebounds. LSU brought both post players back into the game with four fouls and the ball went inside to Bussie twice.

    Granted, LSU was playing a tough zone but with five seniors on the floor and you're the number two seed, you've got to find a way to get the ball inside.

    • Allen

      I agree. LSU playing zone there is always option to put the ball inside. Carey changed his defense strategy but changed nothing on offense to get Bussie the ball inside. Carey lost the game with poor coaching down the stretch and lack of strategy. The WVU players are also at fault for taking poor shots and giving up the lead.

      • Aaron

        I don't agree with that. Zone defenses are generally used to take away the drive and the inside game. Every time the ball came to Bussie's side of the floor, 3 defensive players surrounded her. What the ladies failed to do was rotate the ball around the floor to the open shooter on the backside.

        While I agree, they should have stayed in the zone in the 2nd half to take away the Ballard drive, they were getting killed on the boards.

        The bottom line is, WV played uncharacteristic in the last 5 minutes and it cost them the game. While I'm sure Carey could have made some changes, as he pointed out, it's hard to tell a player not to do what they've done in the previous 34 games.

  • peleliu

    Head coach lost this one, all WVU had to do was go to Bussie.

  • Aaron

    Simply did not pound the ball inside in the second half enough. A team that prided itself on defense all year long could not close the game when they need to, allowing LSU to score one 10 consecutive possessions to end the game. That's a tough one.

    • James

      Couldnt agree more aaron, lack of hustle, no defense or rebounding, just flat out choked

  • James

    Poor coaching also, up by 8, their big girls both have 4 fou and you don't keep attacking, Carey has to shoulder some of the blame, feel bad for Bussie

    • Robert

      Let us make James our coach next year. Let's see how we do.

  • Robert

    Feels like the crowd motivated LSU down the stretch. This is the unfortunate part about women's hoops. They take the tourney wherever a crowd might gather to. Despite WVU's impressive year, they had to play in an unfriendly environment in the NCAA tournament's as #2 seed.

    • James

      Robert not being smart, they were by 8, flat out choked, players and coaches

      • Robert

        how old r u?

        • James

          Robert im 34 and played in college basketball, WVU did not put a bid in for the tournament to be in Morgantown, with that being said, the WVU girls had all of the momentum in the game, up by 8, both LSU post girls with 4 fouls and they stop going in the paint. Also our WVU girls were out hussled and could not get a rebound if their life depended on it. When you have 5 seniors on the court, they should be able to handle the pressure, especially when they are facing a bunch of freshmans.

          • Robert

            so u deny a home crowd had an effect on the closing of the game? it is unfortunate that in women's ncaa hoops an underdog can get home court advantage in the national championship tournament, no matter how much money the home court team may be paying for it. I say this is had an important impact on the final 5 minutes. u say it has no effect, mr. 34 y.o. hoopster?

  • James

    Just horrible, cant even get a rebound, don't want to hear any excuses, they were just plain out hussled

  • Aaron

    For personal fouls on both post players for LSU. West Virginia needs to pound the ball inside to Bussie and take this game in hand. Love the zone defense.

  • Aaron

    Replays showed that Plaisance, did in fact get a clean block on the ball but she used her body to knock the offense of player off the block. It was a good call.

  • Aaron

    Not a bad first task given the circumstances. Bussie needs to come back with the big second-half and play like you all American senior she is. Team needs to ramp up the defense and box out on the rebounds. Somebody's got to step up and cut Ballard off on the drive to the basket. It's killing them.

    • Allan Taylor

      Agree to disagree. I didn't think her feet moved at all.

      • Aaron

        You're not disagreeing with me. I'm repeating what the announcer said on the numerous replays. She chest bumped her off the block. Announcers initially disagreed as well and they showed it three times from different angles. Both finally agreed that it was a foul.

  • Country Roads

    WVU #2seed playing on the road at #7 LSU. That is not the right way seed teams . No way ...NCAA treating us just like the old saying. ( Redhead stepchild ).