Offensive Boards Help WVU to First Big 12 Win

  • By Katie Kane
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  • January 02, 2014 11:05 PM
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Senior guard Brooke Hampton defends a Kansas player during the Mountaineers' 65-55 win over the Jayhawks on Thursday night in Lawrence, Kan. 
LAWRENCE, Kan.  – The West Virginia women’s basketball team used a 16-0 run and 23 offensive boards down the final stretch to record its first Big 12 Conference win at Kansas, 65-55, Thursday at Allen Fieldhouse.
“Any win in the Big 12 on the road is a big win. You never want to lose your first game, and then we turn around and play Saturday, so this is a big win for us,” coach Mike Carey said. “I’ll tell you what, Kansas plays hard. They are well-coached and well-disciplined and they play hard. We were not hitting shots, but we stuck in there. When they went up five points, I knew we needed to get some stops, get some stops and hit a couple shots and we were able to do that.”
With 13:50 in the game, the Mountaineers (12-1, 1-0 Big 12) had a 41-40 lead, but a Natalie Knight three sparked a 6-0 run and gave KU its largest lead of the game, 46-41, with 11:45 remaining.
Four consecutive points from junior guard Linda Stepney, followed by a go-ahead bucket from senior guard Christal Caldwell put WVU back in control, and sparked a 16-0 run down to the 3:45 mark for an 11-point lead, 57-46. A Keyla Morgan three brought KU within eight points, twice, until the final buzzer.
Linda Stepney was in foul trouble in the first half, but came in and was able to make some things happen the second half. Offensive boards—we pounded them on the offensive boards because we didn’t shoot well,” Carey said. “We’ve been shooting better, but we didn’t shoot well and when you’re not shooting well, you have to defend, you have to rebound and get some second shots.
For the most part, we were able to hit our foul shots down the stretch.”
The Mountaineers made a slight improvement in their field goal percentage, shooting 32.3 percent in the opening half, to 37.5 percent from the field in the second half. WVU closed the game shooting 22-of-63 (34.9%), while the Jayhawks (7-6, 0-1 Big 12) went from shooting 45.8 percent in the opening half to 38.5 percent after the break. KU had one less field goal, making 42 percent (21-50) from the field.
WVU shot 73.9 percent (17-23) from the free throw line, while KU only had nine attempts from the charity stripe, converting 77.8 percent (7-9). WVU had four threes, three in the first half, and KU finished with six total, four in the closing half.
Kansas responded to WVU's 13-3 run in the opening minutes with a 9-0 run of its own for a one-point game, 13-12, at the 12:26 mark. WVU held onto the lead until the final seconds of the opening half, when Dakota Gonzalez gave the Jayhawks her first points of the game with an easy layup. KU put WVU at a 28-27 halftime deficit—the first time the Mountaineers had trailed at halftime since their season-opening loss to Ohio State.
WVU capitalized on its 47-28 rebounding edge with 20 second-chance points. KU only pulled down seven offensive boards, putting back just one bucket for two points. Senior center Asya Bussie led the Mountaineers’ rebounding efforts with 10 boards, including six on the offensive end.
Caldwell led WVU in scoring with 14 points and added seven rebounds. Bussie added 13 points to her rebounding total for the 11th double-double of her career. Senior guard Taylor Palmer led all players off the bench with 11 points, including a three. Junior forward Averee Fields added nine points, seven rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes, while Stepney finished with seven points, four rebounds and three assists in 12 minutes.
The Jayhawks were led in scoring by Knight with a game-leading 15 points, followed by Asia Boyd with 12 and Chelsea Gardner with 10 points. Boyd also led on the boards with six rebounds.
The Mountaineers continue Big 12 road play at No. 11/13 Oklahoma State on Saturday in Stillwater. Saturday’s game will air live, nationally, on FS1.

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