NORMAN, Okla. —
The No. 13 West Virginia University women’s basketball team came back from a 14-point deficit to defeat Oklahoma, 76-75, in the final minutes at the Lloyd Noble Center, Thursday.
An Averee Fields jumper with only 13 seconds remaining gave WVU a 75-74 lead and the final go-ahead. Morgan Hook went up for a layup on the following possession and Jess Harlee grabbed the ball and passed it off to Taylor Palmer who was fouled with two seconds on the clock. Palmer missed the front end of her free throw shots, but made the final attempt for a two-point lead in favor of WVU. OU was fouled on the inbound with only three-tenths of a second on the clock. T’ona Edwards made the first free throw attempt, but the second clanked off the rim to seal the win for WVU.
The Mountaineers (21-3, 10-2) took their first lead since the opening minutes with 2:06 left in the game. WVU trailed 44-33 at the half, but outscored OU 43-31 in the closing half. The Mountaineers improved their shooting from only 38.5 percent in the opening half to 46.7 percent in the second half, closing the game at 42.9 percent (24-56) from the field. WVU limited the Sooners (15-10, 6-6) to only nine second-half field goals, shooting 38.3 percent (23-60) for the game.
“First of all, give Oklahoma credit; they were ready to play the first half and we weren’t,” coach Mike Carey said. “They had all the hustle points, all the points in the paint and all the points on the break. So they out-hustled us big time — she did a good job getting them ready to play. I didn’t have our girls ready to play.
“Both teams were in foul trouble the whole game and nobody could really get into a rhythm. Both teams battled hard and we fought back — very easily could have folded. Any time you can come out with a win, not really play well and didn’t get in a rhythm — you’ll take it.”
Four Mountaineers scored in double figures with two recording nine points each. Sophomore guard Bria Holmes led WVU in scoring for the second- consecutive game with a game-leading 19 points. Fields had 12 points, while seniors Christal Caldwell and Asya Bussie added 10 points each. All of Bussie’s points came in the closing half. Senior guard Taylor Palmer and junior forward Crystal Leary added nine points each off the bench.
WVU had its second-best performance from the free-throw line this season, making 88.9 percent (24-27). Coincidentally, its best season free-throw percentage is against the Sooners earlier this season, making 90 percent (19-20) at the Coliseum. OU made 68.4 percent from the charity stripe, going 26-for-38. A total of 56 fouls were called in the game.
Bussie and Fields co-led on the boards, pulling down eight rebounds each, and helping WVU to a 40-36 rebounding advantage.
The Sooners were led in scoring by Aaryn Ellenberg with 18 points, while Nicole Griffin and Gioya Carter added 13 and 12 points, respectively. Sharane Campbell had 10 points. Griffin was one rebound away from a double-double with nine boards.
The Mountaineers return home for a 1 p.m. matchup with TCU on Sunday at the WVU Coliseum. The game is a Play4Kay game, and fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness. Fans can print a free ticket to the game online at WVUsports.com/Pink.