The West Virginia University women’s basketball team suffered a 77-73 overtime loss to Texas Tech, Tuesday, at the WVU Coliseum.
The loss was the fourth Big 12 game this season decided by less than five points and marks the first time since the 2005-06 season WVU has lost three conference games in a season all by five or less points.
“Needless to say, we gave that one away. They dribble-drove us all night,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “We gave that game away. We didn’t defend, we didn’t rebound and had opportunities in regulation to win it and we didn’t do it.”
Tied at 69 at the end of regulation, the Lady Raiders (15-4, 5-2 Big 12) used 6-of-8 shooting from the free throw line and a single field goal to take the final lead. The Mountaineers (11-7, 3-4 Big 12) were unsuccessful from the field, making only 2-of-9 attempts (22.2%) and were out-rebounded by one rebound, the rebound Texas Tech’s Christine Hyde put back for its only good layup of the overtime period. WVU was forced to foul to buy time, but the Lady Raiders converted three of the final four free throw attempts to seal the win.
WVU soared into halftime with a 38-29 lead, behind Averee Fields’ 13 first-half points and Crystal Leary’s eight first-half rebounds. WVU was out-rebounding the Lady Raiders 24-13 at the half, but a sluggish start to the closing half proved costly.
Texas Tech came out of the break with a Monique Smalls layup that sparked a 14-3 run to give the Lady Raiders a 43-41 lead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game. A Christal Caldwell three at the 14:17 mark in the second half interrupted the run and gave WVU a one-point advantage, 44-43. Neither team could pull away by more than two points when Shauntal Nobles laid the ball in with only seven seconds remaining. Linda Stepney’s 3-point attempt fell off the mark sending the teams into overtime.
“We were not blocking out. When we went small, we didn’t block out,” Carey explained. “Everyone was just standing around under the rim and they out-hustled us on offensive rebounds. It is exactly what I told them in there. They had 19 offensive rebounds and they just out-hustled us, went after balls and we didn’t step out and box out.”
Bria Holmes co-led the Mountaineers with a career-best 17 points, 12 coming in the second half, on 50 percent shooting (5-10) and a pair of threes. Fields matched Holmes’ 17 points on 63.6 percent shooting (7-11), to go along with seven rebounds and a steal. Christal Caldwell came out with a 16-point performance, her 13th double-figure scoring outing this season.
Texas Tech had three players in double figures and finished out the game out-rebounding WVU 39-38. Christine Hyde had a game-leading 19 points, while Smalls and Chynna Brown recorded 17 and 16 points, respectively. WVU’s Leary matched a career best, leading all players in rebounding with 11 boards, while TTU’s Brown led the Lady Raiders in rebounding with nine.
The Mountaineers return to their home court at 7 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 26 as they face the Iowa State Cyclones.