West Virginia Mountaineers Fall Just Short in WNIT Championship

The West Virginia Mountaineers fell just short of ending their season with a championship trophy, losing by two points to UCLA on Saturday in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

The Lady Mountaineers trailed by two points at the half, 30-28, after leading for a good part of the first 20 minutes. The game was close throughout the second half, with eight ties and six lead changes.

West Virginia led by six points with 7:22 remaining, but UCLA made up the difference and tied the game at 53-all with a little over four minutes left and then went ahead by two on its next possession. The Lady Mountaineers fought back to within one with under a minute remaining, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the way.

Senior Averee Fields led the Lady Mountaineers with 17 points, and sophomore points leader Bria Holmes contributed another 14 along with six assists. Holmes ended the season with an 18.8 scoring average. Her 719 total points in 2014-15 is second all-time in a single season at West Virginia.

UCLA’s Jordin Canada had a game-high 31 points to lead the Lady Bruins to the 2015 WNIT championship. Thirteen of Canada’s 31 points came from the free throw line, where she made 13 of her 15 attempts.

What really ended up hurting West Virginia was UCLA’s 26-20 advantage in points in the paint and 17 points off of Lady Mountaineer turnovers.

A West Virginia win would have been especially nice with the game being played before a highly partisan crowd in nearby Charleston, W.V.

West Virginia ends the season at 23-15. This was the second time in the past decade that the Lady Mountaineers have reached the WNIT championship game.

Fields and Holmes were both named to the WNIT All-Tournament Team.