"I just think we were nervous to start,'' said Collins. "I don't think it had anything to do with coming down from the Glenville game. We didn't have very many people who had been in this situation before. I don't think it was a letdown from Glenville. Our girls did a fantastic job of not listening to the hype that everyone was trying to give them.''
The Griffins, Collins said, stymied the UC transition game, forcing the Golden Eagles into an uncomfortable half-court offense.
"We were never able to get any easy baskets except when we were in transition,'' he said. "When we were in a half-court situation, we never seemed to be able to score. That's not our game; half-court is not our game, and they did a good job of keeping us in it. We forced 20 turnovers; we just didn't make enough shots. Twenty-seven percent from the field will do you in every time.''
Collins, a Charleston (S.C.) Southern graduate, is a former Texas-Permian Basin coach who won Heartland Conference coach of the year honors. His first year at UC brought some satisfying moments, he said.
"We're 16-13 when most people thought we would win five games,'' he said. "We played in the semifinals. We're going home on the same day that West Liberty is going home. We knocked off the No. 12 team in the country with 20 consecutive victories.''
Alviani, the WVC's top 3-point shooter with a 42.8 percent accuracy, hit 3 of 4 3-pointers and 7 of 11 shots overall to lead the Griffins with 19 points. Gattuso, a first-team All-WVC choice, added 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Cowden led UC with 14 points on 4-of-8 3-point shooting and LeAnne Ross came off the bench to score 13. UC shot 27.3 percent.
Reach Mike Whiteford at mikewhitef...@wvgazette.com.