Mountaineers Tame Wildcats

  • By Katie Kane
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  • February 26, 2013 10:16 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Four West Virginia women’s basketball players recorded scoring numbers in double figures as the Mountaineers defeated Kansas State 66-57, Tuesday at the WVU Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (17-10, 9-7 Big 12) used a second-half surge to come back from a 31-23 halftime deficit. WVU went on an 11-3 run to tie the game at 34-34, shooting 71.4 percent (5-7) during the run and holding K-State without a field goal.

The Wildcats (13-15, 4-12 Big 12) responded with three consecutive threes to stretch the lead back out to 43-36 and 13:10 remaining. On the following possession, Jess Harlee hit a 3-point jumper from the left wing, followed by a Crystal Leary steal for a layup, which was the start of an 18-4 run that put WVU in control of the game, 54-47 with 6:06 remaining. K-State’s Brittany Chambers recorded her sixth three of the evening at the 3:07 mark, allowing the Wildcats to come within four, the closest they would come for the remainder of the game as WVU would use an 8-3 run to the buzzer.

The Wildcats forced 10 Mountaineer giveaways and limited WVU to only one assist in the opening half, however, WVU took care of the ball with only one turnover and 10 assists in the second half. Kansas State totaled 12 turnovers and eight assists.

“It’s a win. In the second half, I thought we played harder,” coach Mike Carey. “Christal Caldwell hit some big shots and Yaya did some scoring for us and did some good stuff. Jess Harlee does it on both ends for us and she is playing very well right now. Linda Stepney had eight points and that was big for us because they weren’t guarding her. I was a little disappointed because we tied them up at 34-34 in the second half and then we let them go up seven and we weren’t playing hard and then we had to get back into it. Overall, in the second half, we played a lot better than the first half.”

Chambers dominated the first half, using 20 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc and 8-of-11 shooting from the field. The senior guard closed out the game with a career-best 36 points, setting a K-State record for the most points by an individual in a game against a conference opponent. It was also the first time in WVU program history an opposing player scored 36 or more points and WVU walked away with the win.

Senior Ayana Dunning and junior Christal Caldwell co-led WVU in scoring with 15 points apiece, while Harlee and sophomore Averee Fields added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Caldwell was responsible for three of WVU’s five total 3-pointers, while Dunning dished out four assists. Fields, Dunning, Harlee and Leary each pulled down seven rebounds, helping the Mountaineers to a 41-35 rebounding advantage.

The Mountaineers shot 42.6 percent (26-61) from the field and used a season-high 45.5 percent (5-11) from 3-point range. WVU bettered itself from only nine field goals in the first half to 17 in the second. K-State opened the game with 12 field goals and was limited to nine in the second half, shooting 35 percent (21-60) for the game. Three other Wildcats add threes behind Chambers for 9-of-24 shooting (37.5%) from beyond the arc.

Behind Chambers, Chantay Caron had 11 points, while Brianna Craig matched Chambers on the boards with eight rebounds each.

“Give them a lot of credit. They have seven players, but they only played six,” Carey said. “They played hard. They spread us out, put us on an island and tried to dribble-drive us. If we helped, they kicked and hit threes and if we didn’t help, they got us by going to the foul line or scoring a layup. They did what they had to do to stay in the game.”

The Mountaineers enter their final home game of the season by hosting defending national champion and No. 1 Baylor on Saturday, Mar. 2 at 7 p.m., at the WVU Coliseum. The game will be broadcasted by Fox Sports Net and will air live on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.