On Sunday, a tired West Virginia women’s basketball team found many of their shots coming up short – and thus, in turn, Big 12 Tournament run came up short as well.
After rolling past Oklahoma State 69-60 the night before, West Virginia suffered a major offensive outage against second seed Texas Sunday afternoon, falling to 0-3 against the Longhorns this season in a 68-55 Big 12 semifinal loss.
For most of the season, West Virginia has only been able to rely on a couple players to consistently score, and their fortunes have risen and fallen with how their supporting cast shoots the ball.
But against Texas, the Mountaineers were ice cold. West Virginia shot just 32 percent from the field and just 2-23 from 3-point range, missing their first 15 attempts from long range, leading to a 13-point loss that was less competitive than the score might indicate.
Texas held West Virginia’s star forward, Teana Muldrow, to one of her worst games of the season: 6 points on 2-13 shooting, missing all seven of her attempts from beyond the arc. Junior Naomi Davenport led the Mountaineers with 17 points but missed six of her seven 3-point attempts, while point guard Chania Ray (10 points) shot 0-5 from 3 and shooting guard Katrina Pardee (10 points) was 1-4.
Texas jumped out to a 24-12 lead after one quarter, and despite the final margin being only 13, led for most of the game by upwards of 20 points and led by as much as 22 late in the third quarter.
West Virginia’s dismal offensive performance meant that the Mountaineers couldn’t find the magic that led them to upset the Longhorns in the semifinals of last year’s Big 12 Tournament. Texas made full use of its deep roster, as 11 different Longhorns scored points in Sunday’s game, with no one player scoring over 11 points.
And while the Mountaineers were able to lean on a strong bench performance in their win over Oklahoma State, their limited reserves were no match for the Longhorns’ depth. Texas’ bench outscored West Virginia’s 25-0, forcing Muldrow, Ray and Davenport to all play almost the entire game.
West Virginia traveled to Oklahoma City knowing that it needed a strong performance in the Big 12 Tournament to secure an NCAA bid, having seen its tournament hopes slide further and further down throughout conference play.
After the quarterfinal win over Oklahoma State, ESPN’s Bracketology held the Mountaineers as one of their first four out, meaning that the odds don’t look great for Mike Carey’s team – but that there is still hope that the Selection Committee could hand WVU an at-large bid.
West Virginia will have to wait a while to find out its tournament fate, as the NCAA’s Selection Monday show is scheduled for March 12, and will be broadcast live on ESPN.