West Virginia Women Falter Again in the Second Half
NEWARK, Del. – It was a replay that West Virginia could have done without.
The Mountaineers played a solid first half against sixth-seeded Delaware in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday, just as they did against Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament.
And then came the final 20 minutes.
Delaware star Elena Delle Donne scored 20 of her 33 points in the second half, and the Blue Hens eliminated West Virginia with a 66-53 victory.
Ayana Dunning had 15 points and 10 rebounds for 11th-seeded West Virginia (17-14), which closed the season with a four-game losing streak. The Mountaineers blew a 19-point halftime lead against Oklahoma, and they also wilted in the second half of this one after holding a 33-26 advantage.
In both games, the Mountaineers were outscored 40-20 after halftime.
“The similarities were we didn’t execute as well as we could have in both games,” Dunning said. “It is kind of frustrating.”
Dunning would have preferred to end her college career on a better note, but she had no regrets about her run at West Virginia.
“While I do have this bitter taste in my mouth, I couldn’t have been happier playing at any other university,” she said.
The Mountaineers lose only two seniors, so the future could be bright for a program that has reached the NCAA tournament in six of the last seven years.
“I hate losing Ayana, but I think we can be really great next year,” junior guard Christal Caldwell said.
Playing on their home floor before a sellout crowd, the Blue Hens bounced back in the second half to extend their school-record winning streak to 26 games. Delle Donne, a 6-foot-5 senior, went 10 for 24 from the floor and 12 for 13 at the foul line and had seven rebounds.
West Virginia was 7-for-22 from the floor after halftime, committed 11 turnovers compared to six in the first half and was outrebounded 21-12.
“It’s two halves,” coach Mike Carey said. “They hurt us on the boards, and in the first half, we didn’t put Delle Donne on the foul line. Second half, she had 13 foul shots.”
Both teams struggled immediately after the intermission. The Mountaineers missed their first six shots and the Blue Hens went 1 for 7, leaving West Virginia up 33-28 with 15 minutes remaining.
Delaware returned from a timeout to score seven straight points to take its first lead since 20-19. Minutes later, four different Blue Hens scored in an 8-0 run that made it 51-42.
“We just didn’t get the stops we were getting in the first half,” Carey lamented.
It was 54-48 before Delle Donne worked her way inside to bank a short jumper off the glass for an eight-point cushion with 3:23 remaining.
In the first half, Delle Donne scored half of Delaware’s 26 points. West Virginia used a 7-2 run to close a half that featured three ties and seven lead changes.
KENTUCKY 61, NAVY 41
NEW YORK (AP) – DeNesha Stallworth scored 18 points and Jennifer O’Neill added nine of her 12 points in the second half to lead Kentucky over Navy.
ST. JOHN’S 90, 2 OT
NEW YORK (AP) – Andrea Hoover scored a career-high 24 points and Dayton outlasted St. John’s.
NORTH CAROLINA 59 ALBANY 54
NEWARK, Del. (AP) – Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored a career-high 30 points, and North Carolina squeezed past Albany to stagger into the second round of the NCAA tournament.
DUKE 67, HAMPTON 51
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Tricia Liston scored 13 of her 20 points in the second half and Duke pulled away to beat Hampton.
No. 7 OKLAHOMA ST. 73
No. 10 DEPAUL 56
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Toni Young scored 20 of her 25 points in the first half to help Oklahoma State beat DePaul.
IOWA 69, MIAMI 53
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Samantha Logic had 23 points with 11 rebounds and Iowa beat eighth-seeded Miami to snapping a two-game losing streak in the NCAA tournament.
NOTRE DAME 97
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Jewell Loyd scored 27 points and top-seeded Notre Dame blew past Tennessee-Martin.
OKLA. CITY REGIONAL
PURDUE 77, LIBERTY 43
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Courtney Moses scored 21 points, hitting 5 of 8 from 3-point range, and Purdue routed Liberty.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE 49
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Shoni Schimmel scored 20 points, and fifth-seeded Louisville beat Middle Tennessee for its fifth straight opening NCAA tournament win under coach Jeff Walz.
PRAIRIE VIEW A&M 40
WACO, Texas (AP) – Brittney Griner had 33 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and another dunk, and defending champion Baylor opened the NCAA tournament with an easy victory.
FLORIDA STATE 60, PRINCETON 44
WACO, Texas (AP) – Leonor Rodriguez and Morgan Toles each scored 12 points and Florida State beat Princeton.
STANFORD 72, TULSA 56
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) – Chiney Ogwumike had 29 points, eight rebounds and three assists, and top-seeded Stanford pulled away in the second half from the 16th seed.
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) – Kate Thompson hit a key 3-pointer down the stretch and another late jumper to finish with 17 points, and No. 8 seed Michigan overcame a cold-shooting first half to beat ninth-seeded Villanova.
LSU 75, GREEN BAY 71
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Danielle Ballard capped a 16-point performance by hitting a key free throw with 4 seconds to go, and LSU held off Green Bay.
PENN STATE 85
CAL POLY 65
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Maggie Lucas scored 19 points, Alex Bentley added 18 and third-seeded Penn State overwhelmed NCAA women’s tournament newcomer Cal Poly.