A historic run to the 2017 Big 12 Tournament crown will be remembered in West Virginia University women’s basketball annals for a long time, as the Mountaineers claimed their second Big 12 Conference title in four seasons.
By snatching the league’s automatic bid, West Virginia reached the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time in the last 13 years and made a postseason appearance for a school-record 11th consecutive season. Additionally, No. 6-seeded WVU (24-11, 8-10 Big 12) advanced to the NCAA Second Round for the 10th time after picking up a 75-62 victory over 11th-seeded Elon in College Park, Maryland.
WVUsports.com recaps some of West Virginia’s biggest storylines from the 2016-17 campaign.
Mountaineers Make Magical Run to the Big 12 Title
West Virginia completed a storybook run to the program’s first Big 12 Tournament title and the first conference tournament championship since 1989.
Entering Oklahoma City as the No. 6-seed in the tournament, the Mountaineers aimed to become just the second sixth seed ever to claim the Big 12 tournament championship. The three-day run started with WVU’s commanding 82-58 victory over No. 3-seed and 19th-ranked Oklahoma in the Big 12 quarterfinal.
The semifinal was much more of a nailbiter, as the game against No. 2-seed and 12th-ranked Texas saw nine ties and three lead changes. Tynice Martin
’s jumper at the 4:45 mark gave WVU the lead and helped the Mountaineers secure their second Big 12 title game appearance in four years with a 62-59 victory.
West Virginia’s surprise run didn’t stop there, as the Mountaineers jumped out early on the regular-season champion and second-ranked Baylor in the championship. Martin poured in a game-high and title game record 32 points to help West Virginia pick up a convincing 77-66 win and punch their 12th ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
With the victory over Baylor, WVU snapped the Lady Bears’ 20-game win streak in the Big 12 Conference tournament. The Mountaineers are the only team in the Big 12 the last seven years to win at least a share of the regular-season title and win a conference tournament crown. Since the Big 12 was founded in 1997, WVU joined the 2004 Oklahoma team as the only six seeds to win the Big 12 Tournament.
Martin’s 82 points and 12 rebounds earned her the Big 12 Championship’s Most Outstanding Player and Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team honors. Meanwhile, Teana Muldrow
garnered all-tournament recognition by averaging 14.6 points and 8.3 rebounds in a three-day span.
Unbeaten in Nonconference Play
West Virginia finished its 2016-17 nonconference slate undefeated (12-0) with a win over Mount St. Mary’s on Dec. 21. The Mountaineers finished nonleague play unbeaten for a third, joining an 11-0 mark in 2002-03 and a 14-0 record in 2010-11.
West Virginia’s 13-0 start was the second-best in program history, tying for the fifth-longest win streak in school history. Until the loss at K-State, WVU was one of seven unbeaten NCAA Division I teams. The Mountaineers currently have a school-record 32-game home win streak against nonconference opponents.
Mountaineers Finish Ranked in Top 25 for Second Consecutive Season
WVU finished ranked in the Associated Press and USA TODAY Sports Coaches Top 25 polls. The Mountaineers finished No. 22 in the AP poll for the seventh time in school history and No. 20 in the coaches poll. WVU finished ranked in both polls for the sixth time in program history and the first time in back-to-back seasons (1992, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2017).
Montgomery Drafted by the Seattle Storm
West Virginia senior center Lanay Montgomery was selected 30th overall in the third round by the Seattle Storm in the 2017 WNBA Draft. Montgomery is the sixth Mountaineer to be picked in the draft, all during the tenure of coach Mike Carey. With Montgomery’s selection, the Mountaineers had back-to-back draft picks for the second time in program history and third selection in the last four seasons. Asya Bussie was the 15th overall pick in the second round in 2014 by the Minnesota Lynx and Bria Holmes was an 11th overall, first round pick by the Atlanta Dream last season.
Montgomery’s 937 total rebounds rank fourth all-time at WVU. Additionally, her 325 career offensive rebounds rank fourth. Montgomery ranked second in the Big 12 with a 66.5 field goal percentage (157-of-236). Montgomery is the best shooter in program history, surpassing Olayinka Sanni (55.7%). Her career field goal percentage of 59.6% is first at WVU.
The senior earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and was selected to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team for a second consecutive year.
Martin Garners All-America Honors and Reaches 1,000 Career Points
Sophomore Tynice Martin
was named All-America Honorable Mention by the Associated Press and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. The Atlanta native is the first sophomore in program history to earn AP and WBCA All-America Honorable Mention.
She became the third-quickest Mountaineer and the 34th overall to reach the 1,000-point milestone with her 26 points in the win over Elon (March 17). Martin became the first WVU player since Meg Bulger in 2005 to score 20 or more points in four consecutive games (March 4-March 19). She joined Bria Holmes, as the only WVU sophomores to garner unanimous All-Big 12 First Team honors. Martin ranked second in the Big 12 Conference with 18.6 points per game.
Muldrow Climbs to 1,000
Junior Teana Muldrow
became just the 33rd Mountaineer to reach the 1,000-point club with a free throw at the 5:10 mark of the second quarter vs. TCU (Feb. 22). In the victory over TCU, the junior from East Orange, New Jersey, scored a career-best 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season. To close the season, she reached double-digit scoring in 12 of her last 13 games.
- Three Mountaineers grabbed Big 12 honors, as announced by the league. Tynice Martin was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 First Team. Lanay Montgomery earned a spot on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team for a second year, while garnering All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. Junior Teana Muldrow earned her first conference recognition with All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.
- West Virginia secured its 11th 20-win season under Carey with a win over KU (Feb. 27). Overall, the program has produced 15 20- win seasons with 11 of those under Carey. WVU’s victory set a school record, as the team reached 20 or more wins for a fourth consecutive season.
- West Virginia has won 47 games over AP Poll ranked competition since 1980 and 36 contests under coach Mike Carey. WVU’s five top-25 wins this season were over No. 2 Baylor (77-66), No. 12 Texas (62-59), No. 19 Oklahoma (82-58), No. 20 Oklahoma (83-73), and No. 24 Kansas State (66-59). WVU has knocked off at least two top-25 teams in the last eight seasons.
- West Virginia ranked in the top-30 nationally in three statistical categories: 14th in blocked shots (5.7 bpg), 29th in scoring margin (+11.4) and 30th in scoring offense (74.0 ppg).
- Chania Ray is 23rd nationally and led the Big 12 with 5.9 assists per game. Tynice Martin was second in the Big 12 and is 40th nationally with 18.6 points per game. Lanay Montgomery’s 2.8 blocked shots per game led the league and were 16th nationally. Montgomery was second in the Big 12 with a 66.5 field goal percentage (157-of-236). Sophomore guard Alexis Brewer was second in the Big 12 with a 42.2 3-point field goal percentage (35-of-83).
- Coach Mike Carey coached his 900th collegiate game on Jan. 11 at Texas Tech. Carey completed his 16th season at the helm of the WVU women’s basketball program. He produced 288 wins at Salem and has 346 victories at West Virginia. His .655 winning percentage in 16 seasons at WVU is a program-best.