Mountaineers can’t find shooting stroke, suffer 1st loss of season to No. 10 Texas

MORGANTOWN — If No. 10 Texas was to be used as a measuring stick, it’s fair to say No. 24 West Virginia came up short Saturday afternoon in the Coliseum. The Mountaineers (13-1, 2-1 Big 12) suffered their first loss of the season, 70-49, as the Longhorns (15-1, 2-1) excelled on both ends of the floor in the top-25 matchup.

“We didn’t make enough shots, didn’t play well enough and they took us out of our rhythm offensively,” WVU coach Mark Kellogg said. “We just didn’t have enough firepower. We’ll get better from this, that’s an elite team.”

Defense had led the Mountaineers to a perfect 13-0 start to the season, but WVU couldn’t stop the nation’s fifth-ranking offense as the Longhorns cut their way through WVU’s pressure time and time again. Texas only attempted seven three-pointers, opting instead to go inside, where the Longhorns put through 13-19 layups.

“I haven’t slept for two nights worrying about those three (WVU) guards,” Texas coach Vic Schaefer said. “We came into the game really concerned about those guards. We talked about having the advantage at the four and five (positions) and just being a push at the three guards.”

The Mountaineers, meanwhile, missed their first four three-pointers of the game, a precursor of what would become one of the team’s worst shooting performances of the year. Despite getting open looks, WVU shot just 2-11 from beyond the arch in each of the first two quarters, leading to a 37-12 Texas lead at halftime. 

“I thought we probably needed to out-shoot them from the three by probably five or six,” Kellogg said. “That would be plus 18 points from the three-point line and that was the difference. I liked the shots we got early in the game. We started forcing them as we got a little frustrated.”

It was the first time this season the Mountaineers went into the break trailing. Texas went on a 10-0 run to start the third quarter.

“I thought we executed some really good stuff early in the first quarter and then I thought we punched them first coming out of the locker room,” Schaefer said. “I thought that was the difference in the game.”

The Texas lead swelled to 20 points in the third quarter as the Mountaineers continued to misfire. WVU was 0-7 on three-pointers. The Mountaineers ended the game 4-31 from range, by far their worst percentage of the season.

“Normally, you would want to find other ways to try and score and get some paint touches,” Kellogg said. “But then you’re chipping away with twos all the time.”

JJ Quinerly shot just 1-12 from three-point range, finishing with a team-high 22 points. Lauren Fields was just 1-10 from deep. Jordan Harrison was next with 10 points and shot 2-6 from beyond the arch.

WVU’s hectic defense still managed to force 24 Texas turnovers, but that manifested into just 16 points for the Mountaineers. Texas also held a 47-24 rebounding advantage.

“We never punched them,” Kellogg said. “I wanted to see what they would do if we punched them and made a run. We never really had it, we just never could string possessions together.”

Texas was led by Madison Booker, one of the top freshmen in the country, who finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

“She’s having to do so much for our team right now, and she’s doing it,” Schaefer said. “She’s running my team and handling that press.”

Shaylee Gonzalez also finished with 15 for the Longhorns.

West Virginia hits the road for games at Iowa State and UCF next week before returning home on Jan. 17 against Houston.