CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Aesthetic qualities were few and far between in the West Virginia University women's basketball team's 64-48 win over Marshall at Tuesday night's Capital Classic.
Turnovers were plentiful. Baskets were not. But the Mountaineers (5-2) were able to grind out a victory while the Thundering Herd (4-4) lost two straight for the first time this season. WVU's Bria Holmes led all scorers with 15 points and teammate Crystal Leary recorded the game's only double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Mountaineers extended what was a one-point lead with 8:36 left in the first half to double digits by halftime, and the Herd couldn't cut it to single digits again. WVU Coach Mike Carey got the victory, but said it didn't come with the energy he wanted, the energy he saw in the Mountaineers' Sunday win over Virginia.
"We've got to get off this roller coaster," Carey said. "I told them I was embarrassed with our energy. We've got a long way to go. A long way to go."
Marshall Coach Matt Daniel wasn't happy, either. He felt things were coming together for his young team - only two seniors are on the roster - but wasn't satisfied with a loss.
"They're certainly more talented than we are right now," Daniel said. "But we're working diligently to put ourselves in a situation where we're able to compete night in and night out with people of that level every night."
Both teams struggled shooting. WVU made 24 of 68 shots from the floor (35.3 percent) and five of 21 from 3-point range (23.8 percent). As tough a night as Marshall had, going 19 for 55 from the floor (34.5 percent) and five for 16 from 3-point range (31.3 percent), the Herd's free throw shooting was worse. Marshall made just five of 17 from the line.
Fortunes swung wildly for the two teams in the first half. WVU began the game with a flurry, scoring the first eight points and sprinting out to a 14-2 lead behind Ayana Dunning's six points from the low post. But then it was Marshall's turn to get hot.