WVU Topples Texas, Advances to Big 12 Title Game

  • By Russell Luna
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  • March 05, 2017 08:35 PM
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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Relentless effort and a 29-point performance from sophomore Tynice Martin propelled the sixth-seeded West Virginia University women’s basketball team to a 62-59 upset victory over No. 2-seed Texas to advance to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship final on Monday.
There were a total of nine lead changes and three ties in Sunday evening’s semifinal contest at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Texas (23-8) built an early 10-point lead in the first four minutes of the game, but the Mountaineers (22-10) charged back in the second quarter outscoring UT, 17-5, and taking a halftime 31-26 lead. An Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau jumper at the 5:21 mark of the third quarter gave the Longhorns a lead they would hold for majority of the period and the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.
Martin’s jumper at the 4:45 mark gave West Virginia a 52-51 advantage and would prove to be the game winner. WVU’s biggest lead of four points in the final four-plus minutes was short-lived as UT kept it a two-point contest and trimmed it to one on two occasions. Martin hit a pair of free throws with 14 seconds remaining to put the Mountaineers up four. However, Texas quickly responded as Big 12 Player of the Year Brooke McCarty banked a three-pointer to make it a 60-59 contest with 10 seconds left. WVU avoided a near turnover and Chania Ray converted the final two free throws to give WVU a 62-59 lead. McCarty again threw up a three-point attempt, which bounced away and into the hands of Teana Muldrow to end the contest.
The Mountaineers will play No. 2-ranked and Big 12 regular-season champion Baylor in a 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT contest on Monday evening. The game is televised nationally on FS1.
“Give credit to Texas. Man, they come right at us, beginning of the game,” coach Mike Carey said. “We weren't ready for that quickness in the beginning of the game and then we kind of settled down in the second quarter. Then, they came right back at us the third quarter and then we settled down a little bit. Give our players a lot of credit, too. They're playing a lot of minutes and that last five minutes we kept talking about you've got to have heart. Who wants it more? Who wants it more? Both teams played hard, and we're really happy to get the win.”
West Virginia makes its second Big 12 Championship title game appearance, with the other coming in 2014, and its fifth overall conference tournament title game appearance. WVU has now made four of its five title game appearances under coach Carey (2006, 2010, 2014 and 2017).
Martin registered her second 20-point performance with a WVU Big 12 Tournament record of 29 points. The All-Big 12 First Team performer made 10-of-21 from the field (47.6 percent) and 4-of-10 from three-point range (40 percent). Muldrow scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds after missing majority of the first half due to foul trouble. Katrina Pardee connected on 4-of-5 from the field and a perfect 3-of-3 beyond the arc for 13 points. Chania Ray also reached double-figures with 10 points. Lanay Montgomery was stout defensively with six rebounds and five blocks in 36 minutes.
Statistically, WVU shot just 35.6 percent (21-of-59) from the field and was outscored 26-12 inside the paint. The Mountaineers knocked down nine triples for 42.9 percent shooting and 11-of-12 (91.7 percent) from the charity stripe. The Mountaineers dished out 12 assists, blocked six shots and collected six steals.
The Longhorns sprinted out to a 14-4 lead in the first four minutes. However, WVU trimmed the game to six, 16-10, with a Martin three at the 4:50 mark. The Longhorns maintained a 21-14 lead at the end of the first quarter and outrebounded WVU, 15-6, in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, WVU held Texas without a field goal for 9:40 as the Mountaineers utilized a 17-5 run to take a 31-26 halftime lead. The run was started by a Ray layup along with the and-one free throw make to trim the contest at 24-22. Martin led all scorers with 14 points at the break.
The Longhorns opened the second half with a 13-2 run and stretched its lead to six points, 39-33 with three minutes left in the third period. Consecutive triples from Ray and Martin gave WVU a one-point edge nearly a minute and a half later.
From there, no team held a lead larger than four points. West Virginia outlasted Texas, 20-15, in the quarter as Martin tallied a quarter-high nine points down the stretch. McCarty led UT with 13 points in the loss.
West Virginia faces Baylor in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship game at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. The game is televised on FS1 and can also be heard on the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG.
NOTES: Texas and West Virginia met for the third time in the Big 12 Championship, and have split the previous two meetings in the semifinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship (Texas 67-51, 2016; WVU 67-60, 2014) … The No. 2 and No. 6 seed have met five times in the Big 12 Championship semifinals, with the No. 6 seed continuing to lead the series 4-1 … The last time a No. 2 beat a No. 6 was in 2002 (Baylor 91, Iowa State 83). Prior to today, the last time a No. 6 defeated a No. 2 was in 2015 (Texas 59, Oklahoma 46) ... The Oklahoma Sooners in 2004 are the only No. 6 seed to win a title game … The three-point win by West Virginia was the smallest margin of victory in the semifinals since 2008 (OSU 75, UT 72) … No. 1 Baylor and No. 6 West Virginia will meet for only the second time in Big 12 Championship history, both times in the finals. In 2014, No. 1 Baylor edged No. 2 West Virginia, 74-71 … Baylor is a perfect 7-0 as the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Championship game. … The Lady Bears are 8-2 overall in the conference championship, and have won six-straight titles … Coach Mike Carey will lead West Virginia to its second appearance in the Big 12 Championship finals since joining the conference in 2012-13. The Mountaineers improve to 6-4 all time in the tournament … West Virginia held Texas to a Big 12 Championship single-game record of five points in the second quarter en route to a 31-26 halftime lead … The Mountaineers, who held the Longhorns to 1-of-10 shooting from the field in the second quarter, are 22-1 when leading at the half this season … WVU sophomore Tynice Martin was the top scorer in the contest with 29 points, her personal tournament best and her second-straight 20+ point performance … WVU had four players in double figures in Katrina Pardee (13), Chania Ray (10) and Teana Muldrow (10).