FORT WORTH, Texas - Strong defensive play and a 32-point third quarter performance propelled the No. 12-ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team to an 83-61 win over TCU on Thursday evening in the Big 12 Conference opener at the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.
WVU (13-0, 1-0) used a series of runs, including a 10-3 spurt in the first quarter to maintain the lead. In the third quarter, West Virginia outscored TCU, 32-20, to stretch its lead to as much as 36. The Horned Frogs (8-4, 0-1) committed 20 turnovers, resulting in 19 Mountaineer points. West Virginia’s 17 steals were the most in a Big 12 game for the Mountaineers since joining the league in 2012-13.
Tynice Martin led West Virginia with 21 points, while matching a team high with six steals. Teana Muldrow followed with 19 points and nine rebounds. Guard Chania Ray matched a career-high with 17 points, dished out nine assists, grabbed six boards and collected career-best six steals. Kristina King reached double-digit scoring for a sixth consecutive game with 14 points. Lanay Montgomery led WVU with 11 rebounds, while corralling eight rebounds.
West Virginia’s 13-0 start is the second-best in program history. The Mountaineers’ 13-game win streak is tied for fifth all-time.
“I thought our team came out and played hard,” said coach Mike Carey. “TCU, give them credit. They didn’t quit playing hard. They battled until the end. We wore down. We played pretty good defense and turned them over a lot.”
Offensively, West Virginia made 26-of-60 from the field for 43.3 percent shooting. WVU connected on 26-of-32 from the field for an 81.3 free throw percentage. The Mountaineers won the rebound battle, 42-32.
For a 14th straight game, West Virginia held its opponent to less than 40 percent shooting. The Frogs made 37.7 percent (20-of-53) from the field and shot 47.1 percent (8-of-17) from three-point range. TCU entered the game leading the country in three-point field goal percentage. WVU’s 10 blocks were the most since deflecting 15 against Morehead State on Nov. 30.
West Virginia sprinted out to a 9-4 lead in the first five minutes of the game. Montgomery scored on a putback with 11 seconds remaining and Muldrow hit a jumper to cap a 10-3 run and give the Mountaineers a 19-7 lead at the end of one.
TCU was limited to just one three-point make in the first quarter. The Frogs connected on three more, but WVU utilized an 8-0 run midway through the quarter to stretch its lead to as much as 23 points.
The Mountaineers outscored TCU 32-20 in the third quarter despite the Frogs shooting 5-of-9 from three-point range. West Virginia utilized another nine-point spurt and held a 73-39 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Toree Thompson made back-to-back buckets to spark a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter. Amy Oknonkwo’s three-pointer with 6:23 remaining trimmed the Mountaineer lead to 75-51. However, WVU added eight more points to seal its 13th straight win. Okonkwo led the Frogs with 17 points and eight rebounds.
No. 12 West Virginia concludes its two-game road swing with a visit to Kansas State on Sunday, Jan. 1. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas. The game is televised only in the Kansas area on Cox Kansas.
NOTES: West Virginia’s 13-game win streak is tied for fifth all-time with the 13-win streak during the 2013-14 season (Nov. 15-Jan. 8) … WVU has held its last 14 opponents and all 13 opponents this to less than 40 percent shooting from the field … Tynice Martin reached double-figure scoring for the 15th consecutive game, while Kristina King has double-digits in six consecutive contests … West Virginia is now 11-1 all-time against TCU and 4-1 in Fort Worth … WVU has limited 12 of 13 opponents to this season to scoring less than 10 points, including TCU’s seven points in the first quarter … WVU has held opponents under double figures in 18 quarters this season … West Virginia’s 10 blocks were the most since deflecting 15 against Morehead State on Nov. 30 ... Chania Ray matched a career-high with 17 points.