Palmer Paves Way to Win over TCU

  • By Katie Kane
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  • February 23, 2013 11:12 PM
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FORT WORTH, Texas – Junior guard Taylor Palmer used 19 points with five 3-pointers to pave the way to a 66-56 West Virginia University women’s basketball victory over TCU, Saturday, in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Mountaineers (16-10, 8-7 Big 12) used a season-best 10 3-pointers and held the Horned Frogs (8-18, 1-14 Big 12) without a field goal for 13:05 of the second half to record back-to-back Big 12 road wins for the first time this season.

“I thought both teams came out and played hard,” coach Mike Carey said. “I thought we stood around a little bit in the first half. In the second half we came out, especially when we came off the bench with some players, and started moving a little bit better. At the end it was sloppy. We didn’t take care of the ball and let them get a few steals and get back in the game. Overall, I found out in the Big 12 just try to, by any means, get a win and go home.”

Freshman Zahna Medley hit a three with 15:34 remaining, to take TCU’s final lead, 36-33. The three was TCU’s final field goal until sophomore Natalie Ventress hit a three at the 2:29 mark, sparking back-to-back Horned Frog threes, allowing TCU to come within eight, the closest it would come for the remainder of the game.

WVU led by as many as 16 in the second half, with freshman Bria Holmes and junior Jess Harlee combining for 13 points in the closing half. The Mountaineers won the turnover battle, limiting their own to 16, while forcing 20 Horned Frog giveaways.

In the opening half, WVU pulled away for a 10-point lead, 23-10, with five threes, four from Palmer and one from Christal Caldwell with 9:08 left. TCU responded with an 11-0 run down to the 3:56 mark, for its first lead of the game, 24-23. The Mountaineers went on a 5-2 run into halftime for a 28-26 lead

Two other Mountaineers recorded scoring numbers in double figures behind Palmer, who led for the seventh time this season. Ayana Dunning had 15 points and Holmes chipped in 10.

“Bria can score for us,” Carey said. “Our last game at Iowa State, she scored like 18. She can come off the bench and score in bunches. She did a good job off the bench and I thought Jess Harlee did a really good job off the bench for us.”

Harlee helped WVU to a 43-41 rebounding advantage as she led in rebounding for the fifth time this season with nine boards. Harlee also dished out four assists, grabbed three steals and put up two blocks off the bench.

The teams shot about even from the field with WVU making 20-of-62 attempts for 32.3 percent and TCU hitting 17-of-54 attempts, totaling 31.5 percent. WVU shot 37 percent (10-27) from beyond the arc, while TCU made 7-of-23 attempts (30.4%). WVU gained a one-point advantage from the free throw line, shooting 80 percent (16-20), to TCU’s 75 percent (15-20).

“They have a very young team,” Carey said. “Give TCU credit. They are very young at every position. They play extremely hard and are well coached and we feel very fortunate to get out of here with a win, very fortunate.”

Ventress led TCU with 21 points, recording 15 of TCU’s 30 total second-half points, while also pulling down nine rebounds. Freshman Kamy Cole added 15 points, including three 3-pointers, while Latricia Lovings chipped in seven blocks. Season scoring leader Medley was held to only nine points, four under her season scoring average.

WVU’s win swept the season series with TCU as the Mountaineers defeated the Horned Frogs 58-50 on Jan. 15 at the WVU Coliseum.

The team returns home for its final two regular-season home games next week, starting with Kansas State at 7 p.m., on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the WVU Coliseum, and closing out the week with a 7 p.m. matchup with defending national champions Baylor on Saturday.

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