West Virginia women’s basketball opened the Mark Kellogg era on Tuesday night in an emphatic way with a 74-39 win over Loyola Maryland. 

“Fun to get the first one out of the way,” Kellogg said. “It’s special and I’ll always remember it. I don’t want to downplay it too much, but I also don’t want it to be about me. There’s a much bigger picture coming up.” 

Kellogg is in his first season with the Mountaineers, coming from Stephen F. Austin, while West Virginia is under their third coach in as many years. 

After Loyola was able to keep pace with Kellogg’s bunch in the first quarter, throughout the remainder of the game, the Mountaineers held Loyola to just 31 percent shooting over the final three quarters. 

The Greyhounds turned the ball over 22 times on the night, leading to 26 West Virginia points. 

The Mountaineers jumped out to an early 15-6 lead within the first five minutes of the first quarter. JJ Quinerly did not miss a beat from last season, scoring nine of those points, including a pair of three-pointers. 

Loyola fought back over the back-half of the first quarter, ending the final 2:50 of the quarter on an 8-0 run as Kelly Ratigan hit two three-pointers of her own as WVU closed to first quarter in front 18-16. 

“I thought we had a good start to the game,” Kellogg said. “We had a couple terrible turnovers that they converted into points there (at the end of the first quarter). I think it was about a two-and-a-half-minute stretch that we kind of fell apart offensively.”

From that point on, West Virginia’s defense was suffocating for the Greyhounds.

In the second quarter Loyola managed only two points, shooting 1 for 8 from the field, while turning the ball over nine times. On the flip side, West Virginia was out and running turning their defense into offense. 

The Mountaineers had nine points off turnovers in the second, scoring 17 points of their own, as six different players chipped in on the scoring efforts. 

Jordan Harrison, who comes to WVU also from Stephen F. Austin, scored six points in the second quarter, scoring 18 points on the night, while only missing three shots from the field. 

The second half was not much different from the second quarter for the Mountaineers, as Loyola shot 38 percent over the final 20 minutes, and turned the ball over 10 times, leading to 17 points for the Mountaineers.

Offensively, Quinerly paced West Virginia in the second half, scoring eight points, as she finished with 18 points. Arizona transfer Lauren Fields added 11 points, trailing Harrison and Quinerly as WVU’s scoring leaders. 

“She can guard, she’s an elite level defender. She can shoot it, she can drive it. I think you’ll get a mix of probably both. We’ve challenged her to be a little more efficient,” Kellogg said of Fields. 

In total, West Virginia shot 44 percent from the field, holding Loyola to 36 percent shooting from the field, as the Greyhounds also went 2 for 15 from the field. Lex Therien scored 18 of Loyola’s 39 points. 

West Virginia made 12 of their 23 three-pointers on the evening, but also struggled at times offensively with 17 turnovers. 

“There were some bad ones,” Kellogg said of the turnovers. “A lot of it is timing and we’ll get better with timing, yes. But 17 is a little too many. You can survive 17 (turnovers) if you force 22 (turnovers) because you’re plus-five there but we got to be better, it needs to be much lower than that.” 

West Virginia now heads to Pitt on Saturday, WVU’s only true road game, but also the first Backyard Brawl since the 2018-2019 season. 

“I got all I wanted and more from the football game,” Kellogg said. “I’m fully aware. We hadn’t had a basketball version of it yet but I’m fully aware of what that looks like and what it is and what it means to our state.”