Fourth Quarter Run Propels WVU Past Elon

  • By Russell Luna
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  • March 17, 2017 07:06 PM
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -  A 10-0 run in the fourth quarter propelled the No. 6-seed West Virginia University women’s basketball team to a 75-62 win over No. 11-seed Elon on Friday afternoon in the NCAA Championship First Round at the XFINITY CENTER.
There were six lead changes and two ties in Friday’s back-and-forth battle. Elon (27-7), who won the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament last week, never trailed by more than six points in the third quarter. Elon’s Lauren Brown’s three-point shot at the 7:25 mark in the fourth quarter evened the game at 53-53. Senior Lanay Montgomery connected on a jumper to give WVU (24-10) the eventual go-ahead bucket. WVU sophomores Tynice Martin and Katrina Pardee helped extend the run as Martin made two free throws and Pardee banked back-to-back triples to give No. 22/21-ranked WVU the 10-point cushion with 5:19 remaining. Elon trimmed the game to seven, but West Virginia held on to advance to the NCAA Tournament Second Round for the 10th time in program history.
With the victory, WVU will play No. 3-seed Maryland on Sunday, which toppled No. 14-seed Bucknell, 103-61, earlier on Friday. The Mountaineers and Terrapins meet for the third time in program history and the first since 1981. WVU and Maryland will square off at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 19, in a game televised on ESPN2. (Official ESPN coverage maps have yet to be released). 
Martin recorded a game-high 26 points and became the 34th Mountaineer to reach the 1,000-point plateau with her free throw make at the 1:03 mark in the fourth quarter. The sophomore from Atlanta is the third-quickest Mountaineer to reach the 1,000-point club. She finished with seven field goals and made 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
Montgomery scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the in the victory for her 20th career double-double. She connected on 6-of-9 from the field for 66.7 percent. Pardee made four treys, tying WVU’s NCAA Tournament record for three-pointers, and finished with 14 points for her fourth consecutive double-figure scoring game. Junior Teana Muldrow grabbed 10 rebounds, scored six points and distributed seven assists. Chania Ray tallied seven points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals in 37 minutes. Alexis Brewer dished out a career-high six assists in the win.
“Give Elon a lot of credit. They came out and played hard and battled the whole game,” coach Mike Carey said. “They gave us everything we could handle, so give them a lot of credit. I thought we came out flat, didn't have energy. I don't understand why not. The Big 12 Tournament, we had all kinds of energy. I don't know why we came out flat but we did. Tournament time is you just have to advance. You can't play in the second round unless you win the first round. I have no doubt that we'll come out Sunday with energy so we're looking forward to Sunday's game."
Offensively, West Virginia shot 47.4 percent (27-of-57) from the field and 47.1 percent (8-of-17) from three-point range. The Mountaineers limited Elon to 39.3 percent shooting (24-of-61) from the field and 26.7 percent (4-of-15) from three-point range. The Mountaineers outrebounded the Phoenix, 38-28, and dished out 20 assists in the victory.
West Virginia opened the game on a slow start, making just 2-of-10 from the field as the Phoenix opened with an 8-5 lead in the first six minutes after back-to-back layups. Elon built its lead to five at the 2:35 mark, but WVU only trailed 13-10 at the end of the opening quarter.
Kristina King’s layup and jumper sparked a 9-0 run in the first five minutes of the second period, as WVU re-took the lead at the 5:56 mark. However, Elon’s Shay Burnett’s triple at the 4:05 mark capped a 7-2 run to trim the game to 21-20 WVU. Martin responded with a trey and Ray collected a steal and scored on the fast break to give WVU a 26-20 edge. Elon connected on five free throws down the stretch to cut the game to 28-27 at the break.
The Mountaineers shot just 35.5 percent (11-of-31) from the field compared to Elon’s 28.1 percent (9-of-32) in the opening half.
Montgomery’s layup at the 6:50 mark pushed WVU’s lead back to six, but the Phoenix kept trimming the game to a one-point advantage over the next two minutes. King netted her third field goal of the game that gave WVU the 51-48 lead at the end of three quarters.
After Brown tied the game at 53-53 in the fourth quarter, Montgomery’s jumper gave WVU the go-ahead lead and sparked the Mountaineers’ 10-point run. Burnett led Elon with 19 points and Brown followed with 17.
No. 6-seed West Virginia will take on No. 3-seed Maryland on Sunday, March 19, at 2:30 p.m. ET at the XFINITY Center in College Park. The game will be televised on ESPN2. 
NOTES: WVU owns a 5-0 mark in the all-time series against Elon … the Mountaineers will appear in their 10th Second Round NCAA Tournament and eighth under coach Mike Carey … WVU will face No. 3-seed Maryland on Sunday … the Mountaineers are 0-2 against Maryland … West Virginia is 10-11 overall in the NCAA Tournament and 8-9 under coach Carey …  WVU has made three consecutive Second Round appearances and eight appearances since 2007 … sophomore Tynice Martin reached the 1,000-point mark, totaling 1,003 points in her collegiate career … Martin becomes the 34th Mountaineer to join the 1,000-point club … Katrina Pardee ties with WVU’s NCAA Tournament records with four three pointers … Lanay Montgomery has 928 total rebounds, which ranks fourth all-time at WVU.

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