MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University women’s basketball team picked up its first Big 12 Conference win of the season after defeating Texas Tech, 64-53, on Wednesday evening, at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.
In a back-and-forth affair, West Virginia (8-5, 1-2 Big 12) managed to outscore Texas Tech (8-7, 1-3 Big 12) in three of four quarters, including 20 points in the second quarter. The Mountaineers led by as many as 11 points in a game that featured eight lead changes and one tie. WVU also forced 21 Lady Raider turnovers in the game.
“I thought we played great defense for the majority of the game,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “We didn’t block out well. Third quarter again, I don’t have the answer. I don’t know. I tried to run some things that we don’t normally run, try to get them moving, we just struggled in the third quarter to score again and come out and let them take the lead. Fourth quarter, I thought we played great defense, started rebounding a bit better, and got some scores. (We) hit our foul shots down the stretch so that was big.”
WVU was co-led in scoring by junior guard KK Deans and senior guard Madisen Smith, who each tallied 15 points. Additionally, freshman guard JJ Quinerly finished the game with 11 points. Junior forward Esmery Martinez paced West Virginia on the glass with seven rebounds.
Fifth-year senior center Yemiyah Morris netted the first score of the game just 18 seconds into the game, but neither team scored for the next five minutes. Smith stopped the drought with 4:53 remaining in the first quarter with a fast-break layup. Tech countered with its first basket of the game to make it 4-2 game at the first media timeout.
West Virginia came out of the break and scored five points, including a Deans’ 3-pointer. On the other end, TTU countered with six points of its own, as the Mountaineers led, 9-8, at the end of the first quarter.
Texas Tech took its first lead to open the second quarter, but a Jasmine Carson triple and a trio of free throws helped WVU jump back out in front, 15-10. An and-1 conversion from Tech’s Vivian Gray cut WVU’s lead to two with 7:29 to go. Quinerly scored a pair of baskets heading into the media break, as the Mountaineers stretched their lead to seven points.
The Lady Raiders netted five tallies after the break to cut WVU’s advantage back to two, but a pair of scores from Quinerly and Smith kept TTU at bay. West Virginia continued to hold off Tech defensively for the remainder of the quarter, as Quinerly and Smith continued to add to the Mountaineers’ lead. West Virginia led Texas Tech, 29-22, at halftime.
The Mountaineers surrendered 10 points to begin the third quarter, which forced them to call a timeout and gave the Lady Raiders the lead. Although Deans scored coming out of the timeout to stop the run, Texas Tech answered on its end before the media break.
WVU cut the deficit to one a few times following the timeout and eventually took the lead on a baseline drive from Quinerly with 3:03 to go in the quarter. On the other end, TTU got the lead back with a 3, but fifth-year senior forward Ari Gray tied the game up a few possessions later. West Virginia continued to keep the game within reach for the remainder of the period but trailed Texas Tech, 46-45, heading into the fourth quarter.
After Texas Tech increased its lead to three points to begin the fourth, West Virginia rattled off a 7-0 run to retake the advantage with 3:15 to go in the game, as the Mountaineers were up 52-48. The Lady Raiders added another score, but another scoring run stretched the lead to 10 points and kept WVU out in front. Tech continued its efforts to chip away at the WVU lead, but four more free throws helped the Mountaineers hang on late and earn their first Big 12 win of the season.
Next up, West Virginia squares off against No. 13/12 Texas in Austin on Saturday, Jan. 15. Tipoff against the Longhorns is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network.