McCoughtry, Louisville shut down West Virginia

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Angel McCoughtry scored 26 points and Louisville (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today; No. 20 AP) held West Virginia without a field goal for over 12 minutes in the first half, beating the Mountaineers 68-56 in a Big East tournament quarterfinal game.

Louisville (26-6) jumped out to an 18-3 lead, behind 10 points from McCoughtry, the Big East's player of the year. Jazz Covington added 10 points and eight rebounds.

West Virginia's Chakhia Cole opened the scoring with a jump shot 53 seconds into the game, but the Mountaineers then missed 20 consecutive shots from the field. They were held to just three free throws until LaQuita Owens scored on a putback with 6:39 remaining in the half to make it 23-7.

Owens led all scorers with 28, including 26 after intermission to keep the Mountaineers in the game. She was 6-of-16 from 3-point range. Lateefah Joye added 13 in the losing effort.

West Virginia shot just 17 percent from the field in the first half, but held Louisville to 34.6 percent. The Cardinals led 26-14 after Patrika Barlow hit a leaner at the halftime buzzer.

"We came out a little flat," Cole said. "It just seemed like it got our spirits down a little bit and we couldn't recover from it."

West Virginia shot 45 percent in the second half, but it was not enough.

The Mountaineers got within 44-39 with just under 9 minutes to go, before Helen Johnson and McCoughtry hit a pair of 3s to stretch the lead back to 11.

"It just seemed like every time we cut it down within seven, eight or whatever, they'd get a big three or we'd give up an offensive rebound or put them at the foul line," West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. "We just couldn't get it going."

The 14 points was just the second worst half for West Virginia this season. They scored just 10 in a 64-25 loss to LSU. It was also five shy of the record for fewest in the half of a Big East Tournament game. Boston College scored nine points in a 41-37 quarterfinal loss to Villanova in 2005.

"West Virginia has beaten us three times since we've been in the Big East [including a 76-71 defeat at Louisville on Feb. 26] so we were certainly hungry to step up and compete against them and finally get a win against them," Cardinals coach Tom Collen said.

The Mountaineers (20-10) earned the tournament's fourth seed and a bye after defeating the Cardinals, 76-71, in overtime Monday. The fifth-seeded Cardinals got the rematch after beating 12 seeded St. Johns 68-54 on Saturday.

They will play No. 3 Connecticut in the tournament semifinals on Monday. The Huskies beat South Florida 74-54 on Sunday.