Senior guard Christal Caldwell paved the way to a 77-63 West Virginia women’s basketball victory over Oklahoma on Saturday at the WVU Coliseum.
The Sooners (11-7, 2-3 Big 12) cut a double-digit deficit down to a tie game at 53-53 with 11:07 remaining, but the Mountaineers (16-2, 5-1 Big 12) responded with a 10-2 run, capped by a Bria Holmes three at the 4:40 mark, leading 65-57. WVU never let up, using a 9-3 run over the final two minutes, while OU missed eight of nine final field goal attempts and turned the ball over twice in the final four minutes.
Entering Saturday’s game, Oklahoma averaged 80.9 points per game and was held to 63 points, its second-lowest point total all season.
“I thought we started out the game very well; needless to say we shot the ball very well at the beginning of the game,” coach Mike Carey said. “We executed against the zone better in the second half. Give our girls a lot of credit. We came off a big win, came home, and Oklahoma has a great team. They run a lot of stuff and a lot of stuff well. Overall, I’m very pleased; our girls fought hard.”
WVU came out shooting with a 16-3 run over the first five minutes. The Mountaineers held a double-figure lead until the final four minutes of the first half, when OU was able to go into halftime trailing by eight, 39-31.
Caldwell matched a career best, going 5-for-5 from 3-point range, totaling 23 points, the 11th 20-point outing of her career. Sophomore guard Holmes was one point shy of a career best with 21 points, the third 20-point outing in her career. Junior guard Linda Stepney surpassed her career-high point total, set previously this week, with 17 points, while also dishing out five assists.
“They’re playing well right now,” Carey said. “Linda has done a great job of making things happen and getting in the gaps and scoring. We shot the ball well, especially in the first half. We just have to keep it up.”
The Mountaineers opened the game shooting 61.9 percent (13-21) from the field and 66.7 percent (6-9) from 3-point range, while limiting OU to only 37 percent (10-27) from the field and 18.2 percent (2-11) from beyond the arc. WVU’s shooting decreased in the closing half, but still finished the game shooting 49 percent (24-49) to Oklahoma’s 37.9 percent (22-58). The Sooners managed to drop six threes in the second half, finishing with 38.1 percent (8-21) from beyond the arc, while WVU had 11 team threes, making 61.1 percent (11-18).
WVU had the advantage from the free throw line, converting 90 percent (18-20), with 10-of-10 coming from Stepney. OU earned 11 points from the charity stripe, making 78.6 percent (11-14).
For the second-consecutive game, WVU matched its opponent on the boards, with each team pulling down 31 rebounds. Caldwell led WVU’s rebounding with six boards, while Morgan Hook led OU in rebounding with six.
OU’s Aaryn Ellenberg led all players with 28 points, including five 3-pointers, while Sharane Campbell added 11 points.
The Mountaineers return to the court for a two-game road swing, starting at 7:30 p.m., on Wednesday at Texas Tech and closing out the week with a 4 p.m. matchup at Texas on Saturday.