Charleston Shuts Down WJU Women
WHEELING–The Wheeling Jesuit women’s team picked the wrong night to have its poorest shooting performance of the season.
As the No. 25-ranked University of Charleston came into Thursday’s game sitting at the top of the Mountain East Conference, the Cardinals shot just 14.3 percent from the field in a 68-26 blowout to the Golden Eagles at the McDonough Center.
Along with the 8 of 56 shooting performance, Jesuit (3-10 overall, 1-6 MEC) only connected on 1 of 17 from behind the arc.
“The problem is we are lacking confidence, individually, on offense and it showed,” Jesuit coach Mike Llanas said. “Give (Charleston) credit for its halfcourt defense but it wasn’t about them. It was about us.
“A college basketball team scoring 26 points is deflating but it goes without saying that we can do better than this.”
Charleston (12-1, 7-0) led from start to finish as it stayed unbeaten in conference play.
“Our press works for us,” Charleston coach and former Louisville basketball player Becky Burke said. “We just came out and really put an emphasis on (Chenelle Moore) and (Khira Burton).
“We also put an emphasis on rebounding the basketball.”
The plan worked as Moore was Jesuit’s leading scorer with only five points and three offensive boards, while Burton netted just three points. The Eagles also outrebounded the Cards 43-35.
“They really keyed up on Chenelle,” Llanas said. “She leads the country in offensive rebounds but that’s where the rest of the team has to step up.”
The Golden Eagles began the game on a 10-0 run before Moore picked up Jesuit’s first bucket more than four minutes into the game.
The Cards only tallied four points in the first quarter, shooting 22.2 percent, as Charleston finished the frame on a 9-2 run for a 19-4 upper hand.
Turnovers were crucial in this one, as well. The Eagles took advantage of 10 Cardinals’ first quarter giveaways and turned them into 13 points on the other end.
Charleston finished with 18 points off of takeaways.
“(Turnovers) set the tone but it wasn’t a constant,” Llanas said. “We felt we were in the game at halftime but we just weren’t shooting the basketball well.”
By halftime, Charleston held a 35-12 lead due to a 16-2 advantage in points in the paint, where it finished with a 26-10 command.
“We have some really good bigs who can really play,” Burke said. “They did a good job of driving the ball and making their layups.”
The tune stayed the same in the third quarter and the Golden Eagles finished the game on a 16-4 run.
“We never thought we would finish the game the same way that we started it,” Llanas said. “We thought if we would could pick up some momentum in the third quarter, offensively, we could have made it a basketball game.”
Anna Hayton paced the Eagles with a double-double as she supplied 14 points and collected 14 rebounds. Raziyah Farrington also netted 14 points and Gracie Roberts added 11.
“If they are the No. 25 team in the country, we held them to 68 points,” Llanas said. “But, nobody would have dreamt that we would just score 26 points. You can’t go 8-for-56 and win a basketball game. That is what we have to get better at.
“I thought we did a really good job of getting them out of their primary defense, which is their 1-2-2. In the third quarter they took that off because we were breaking the press. So, I am very proud of our players for breaking that pressure. We just have to carry it over and start knocking shots down.
“This team has to get better and we have to get better by recruiting. The players we are recruiting are going to put the ball in the basket. This was just unfortunate. We’re better than this.”