SAVANNAH, Ga. - Lanay Montgomery
’s layup with 12 seconds remaining gave the No. 19/23-ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team a 56-52 victory over Auburn to claim the Savannah Invitational Championship on Thursday evening at the Savannah Civic Center.
The Mountaineers (6-0) led by as many as 14 points in the first half before Auburn (5-1) closed the period on a 15-4 run to cut the halftime lead to 31-28. WVU pushed its advantage to 10, 38-28, with a Montgomery layup at 7:06 left in the third. The Tigers held a brief one-point lead for 1:35 in the fourth quarter, but the Mountaineers maintained a slim lead down the stretch.
Auburn’s Jessica Jones made a layup with 1:19 left to tie the game at 52-52. With 12 seconds remaining, Teana Muldrow
grabbed an offensive rebound and Montgomery converted the layup for the game-winning basket. Tynice Martin
closed out the game with two free throws to give West Virginia its best start since the 2010-11 season.
Montgomery finished with 13 points, five rebounds and three blocks in 22 minutes. Martin led the team with 16 points, which nine of those points were from behind the arc. Muldrow matched her career-high with 14 rebounds and finished with eight points and three assists. Kristina King
made 3-of-4 from the field and added two free throws to finish with eight points and five rebounds.
Martin, a native of Atlanta, earned Savannah Invitational MVP honors and Muldrow, a junior from East Orange, New Jersey, was named to the All-Tournament Team.
“We ran out of gas, but were able to get two or three stops down the stretch,” coach Mike Carey said. “I am real proud of the players. They showed a lot of heart. This was a big win early in the season and I am extremely proud of our players.”
West Virginia shot 38.5 percent (20-of-52) from the field and made 37.5 percent (6-of-16) of its three point attempts. Auburn shot 27.6 percent (16-of-58) from the field and 25.0 percent (5-of-20) behind the arc. Auburn became the seventh consecutive WVU opponent to shoot less than 40 percent from the field. The Mountaineers withstood the Auburn defensive attack, turning the ball over just 22 times. The Tigers came into the game forcing an average of 30-plus turnovers per game.
Montgomery scored the Mountaineers first three points and WVU eventually pushed out to a 14-3 lead. A King layup make on the fast break drew the and-one to push the WVU advantage to 22-13 at the end of one.
Auburn utilized an 8-0 run in part to back-to-back three-pointers from Katie Frerking to cut the game to 27-21 with 5:07 remaining. Auburn continued another 7-1 run and cut the game to 27-26 with 2:38 remaining. A King free throw and a Martin triple gave WVU a 31-28 break at the half.
West Virginia opened the third quarter on a 10-0 run, but Auburn fired back. And trimmed the game to one on multiple occasions. King’s layup gave WVU a 44-43 edge at the end of three.
Auburn took its only lead in the game with Frerking layup with 8:04 left in the contest. WVU answered immediately with a King jumper. The game went back-and-forth, including a Jones layup with 1:19 on the clock to tie the game at 52-52. From there, WVU used its four-point spurt to secure the sixth win of the season. Frerking finished with a game-high 18 points for Auburn.
No. 19/23 WVU returns to Morgantown to play host to High Point on Sunday, Nov. 27. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum. Fans can purchase tickets online at WVUGAME.com
or by calling the Mountaineer Ticket Office at 1-800-WVU GAME.
NOTES: Dating back to the Ohio State game last season on March 20, 2016, WVU has held its last seven opponents to shooting less than 40 percent from the field … Tynice Martin
has reached double-figures in eight consecutive games … Martin’s consecutive free throw streak of 30 was snapped … the streak was second all-time at WVU … Teana Muldrow
tied her rebounding career-high with 14 … Thursday’s win is the sixth for West Virginia over an SEC team … the win marked the 15th time WVU has finished a nonconference tournament undefeated … Martin was named the Savannah Invitational MVP and Muldrow garnered All-Tournament Team accolades.