MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– The West Virginia University women’s basketball team defeated TCU, 58-50, Tuesday at the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers (11-5, 3-2 Big 12) came out strong making an 8-0 run in the first few minutes and stretching the lead out to 10 at the 15:48 mark (19-9). However, the Horned Frogs (7-9, 0-5 Big 12) were resilient, using an 18-9 run down to halftime, sending the teams into the locker room tied at 27 at the break.
The teams traded the lead six times in the second half, including two ties, with the final tie at 40 with eight minutes remaining. Akilah Bethel laid the ball in to spark an 8-0 Mountaineer run, which included five points from freshman Bria Holmes. TCU was successful in cutting the deficit down to two, 50-48, with 3:18 to play, but WVU held the Horned Frogs without a field goal until only 26 seconds remained.
“It was a very lackadaisical effort,” coach Mike Carey said. “We turned the ball over too much. I give a lot of credit to Akilah Bethel, Darius Faulk, Bria Holmes and Crystal Leary. They came in with energy and got us going and got us moving. I am very proud of that. I told them after the game that is why you always have to be ready. They did an excellent job of coming in and giving us energy and getting us moving again. We didn’t play well but I would rather not play well and get a win then play well and not get a win. We will take it but we have to get a lot better.”
The Mountaineers held TCU, a team that averaged 7.7 threes per game heading into the game, to a season-low three 3-pointers. WVU out-shot TCU from the field and from beyond the arc, shooting 37.2 percent (22-59) and 38.9 percent (7-18), respectively. TCU was held to only six second-half field goals, shooting 28.1 percent (18-64) from the field for the game and only draining 17.6 percent (3-17) of its 3-point attempts.
Junior guards Christal Caldwell and Taylor Palmer led WVU in scoring with 14 and 13 points respectively. Senior Ayana Dunning chipped in nine points to go along with eight rebounds and two blocks. Bethel and Holmes provided the spark off the bench with five points apiece. Averee Fields and Caldwell each pulled down seven rebounds, to help the Mountaineers to a 48-38 rebounding advantage in the win. WVU recorded a season-best 10 blocks with four coming from Linda Stepney.
WVU turned the ball over 24 times, while TCU limited its own turnovers to 15, however, WVU capitalized more on turnovers, gaining 12 points to TCU’s seven off the turnovers.
TCU had three players in double figures with Veja Hamilton recording 15 and Kamy Cole and Zahna Medley adding 10 points each. Latricia Lovings pulled down 13 rebounds and put up five blocks for the Horned Frogs.
“It is good to be over .500, but we have a lot of games coming up,” Carey said. “We just have to get better. Hopefully this will wake us up. Seems like we play up or down to our competition and you can’t do that in the Big 12.”
The Mountaineers will take to the road for an 8 p.m. matchup with No. 1 Baylor on Saturday, Jan. 19, in Waco, Texas.