Published March 20, 2015
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The UB women's basketball team made its first appearance in the Women's National Invitation Tournament yesterday, but lost a battle with host West Virginia, 81-64, thanks to a hot-shooting first half by the Mountaineers.
WVU never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 10-0 lead and powering to a 50-28 advantage at the half. But the Bulls answered in the second. The Mountaineers held just a one-point scoring margin, 34-33, in the latter 20. The loss ends the Bulls' finest season in more than a decade. They finished 19-13.
"I am incredibly proud of our women's basketball team and all that they've achieved throughout an outstanding season," said President Satish K. Tripathi, who made the trip to Morgantown to watch the Bulls along with Provost Charles F. Zukoski. "Tonight's game caps off an outstanding season for our women's basketball team, as only the second trip to a postseason tournament in program history, and its first-ever trip to the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
"I was thrilled to be here tonight cheering on the team as they took on a Big 12 rival and held their own every step of the way. It was a game I'll remember for a long time to come. Congratulations to Coach Legette-Jack and the entire team on all their success over a truly great season."
Sophomore Joanna Smith had a career night to pace the Bulls. She grabbed 11 rebounds — the most single-game boards of her two-year career — to go with a team-high 18 points to earn her first career double-double. Freshman Stephanie Reid added 11 points. Sophomore Alexus Malone has three steals, while classmate Camera Miley dished out three assists. Miley added six points and Malone chipped in five points and five rebounds.
UB's seniors each contributed in their final career outings. Kristen Sharkey posted nine points and five rebounds, finishing eighth all-time with 1,264 points and 10th with 759 rebounds. Christa Baccas made a game-high two blocks, surpassing the 250 threshold. She concludes her career with 251 to sit second in program history. Ayana Bradley had a four-point, five-rebound showing for the Bulls
“I thought our young ladies did a tremendous job of continuing to fight. They were outmatched when it came to physical skillsets, but their mental toughness and their ability to carry on was evident,” said third-year head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “I’m really humbled to see how this team grew from nothing to something. Now they believe that they’re supposed to be in fights like this. I’m excited about what the future holds.”
WVU had four players in double figures. Teana Muldrow and Bria Holmes each put up 20, while Averee Fields added 12 and Jessica Morton 11. All 20 of Muldrow’s points came in the first half, highlighted by a 5-for-5 showing beyond the arc. The Mountaineers shot 52.6 percent from deep for the game.
The Bulls committed just 10 turnovers to WVU’s 12, but were outrebounded 50-40. WVU shot 41.2 percent from the floor. UB hit 30.3 percent of its shots. The squads tallied 18 each at the charity stripe.
The Bulls secured their first 19-win season since going 19-9 in 2000-01. UB, who went 17-13 a season ago, posted its first back-to-back winning seasons since amassing an 18-11 record in 1999-00 and a 19-9 record in 2000-01.