Among the things that have given the University of Charleston women's basketball team trouble came back to haunt the Golden Eagles on Friday afternoon in the West Virginia Conference semifinals at the Charleston Civic Center.
Six-foot junior Katie Gattuso had 18 points and 15 rebounds, posing problems that have continually plagued the Golden Eagles, in a 61-49 Seton Hill victory.
The Griffins (19-12), under veteran head Coach Ferne Labati, move to the title game at 1:07 p.m. today against Fairmont State.
"Before the game, we told our team that when you get to the level, the final four, everybody is good and everybody has to play every single minute," said Labati, who won 290 games at Miami (Fla.) and will coach in the WVC title game for the first time before moving to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference next year. "Players basically win games. I think our kids did an outstanding job with the gameplan."
The Golden Eagles (16-13) reached the semifinals by virtue of a stunning upset of top-seeded Glenville State. However, the magic that UC had in the quarterfinals betrayed it on Friday.
Charleston was 9-of-24 from 3-point range, where they are 12-1 when they hit 10 or more.
Despite each team having 17 offensive rebounds, Seton Hill outscored Charleston 18-4 on second-chance points. The Golden Eagles struggled to finish inside.
"They made shots when they needed to," Collins said. "They took care of the ball when they needed to, and every time we tried to make a run, they answered it, which is the sign of a good team."
Gattuso's dominance inside wasn't evident in their only other meeting this season, Jan. 21 at Eddie King Gym. In that 83-67 UC win, Gattuso had 15 points and nine rebounds, but the team beat UC by only four on the boards and the Golden Eagles made 11 3-pointers.
"One of the keys was to outrebound them," Gattuso said. "They shoot a lot of shots. Tiani Kelly is extremely athletic and I think that's much tougher to deal with than a big post player. I think they make do with their size in a different way."
Jessi Cowden had 14 points and LeAnne Ross 13 for UC, while Paige Alviani's 19 points led Seton Hill and her 3-of-4 performance from the 3-point line provided the Griffins with an outside threat.
Now, the Griffins will face Fairmont State. The Falcons' Kaitlin Snyder is 14 points away from setting the career scoring mark at the school.Incidentally, the all-time leading scorer at Fairmont - Kristen Gattuso - is the cousin of Seton Hill standout Katie Gattuso.