WVU Women's Basketball

WVU Women lose to Virginia Tech in WNIT Semifinals

After four straight wins in the WNIT, West Virginia finally ran up against a power conference team, and saw their season end on Wednesday night – not with a whimper, but with a bang.


A late 3-pointer by Virginia Tech’s Taylor Emery killed West Virginia’s hopes at a spot in the WNIT finals, after the Mountaineers caught fire in the second half to erase a 12-point deficit and take the lead in the final minutes.


And when Teana Muldrow’s last-second 3-pointer fell short, so did the Mountaineers’ postseason run with a 64-61 semifinal loss.


“Fourth quarter went up 4, gave up a backdoor layup, gave up an offensive rebound and didn’t step up on that 3,” head coach Mike Carey said. “So you get beat. Give them credit. They made the plays we didn’t down the stretch.”


In her final game of a celebrated West Virginia career, Muldrow led the Mountaineers with 20 points, albeit on an inefficient 9-25 shooting night. Naomi Davenport followed with 14 points, while point guard Chania Ray finished with 9 points and 9 assists.


In the first half, West Virginia looked absolutely lost against a Virginia Tech 2-3 zone that it didn’t prove able to crack. The Mountaineers shot just 31 percent from the field in the first half, missing all nine of their 3-pointers.


But coming out of the halftime break, Virginia Tech switched away from the defense that had worked so well up to that point, going with a man defense in the third quarter. The Mountaineers’ eyes lit up, and went on a big run that got them back into the game.


“We’re our best when people play man against us,” Muldrow said. “When teams go man, we know we can execute against them.”


West Virginia shook out of their shooting slump and responded with a trio of triples that pulled them back even in the first few minutes of the half. Virginia Tech switched back to the zone after the run, but West Virginia was well and truly in the game.


After trailing for over 35 minutes straight, a Muldrow layup finally gave the Mountaineers the lead with just over two minutes to go. The Mountaineers led by 1 with 22 seconds left when they went under a screen at the wrong time, and Emery – who finished with a game-high 23 points – stepped up and drilled the go-ahead 3.


Davenport missed her runner attempt to tie the game shortly after, and West Virginia was left to reflect what might have been – if they could have hit a shot against the zone, it might be the Mountaineers celebrating a trip to the WNIT final.


“The first half killed us,” Davenport said. “We should have been beating them by like 20. We only scored 12 points in the first quarter. That’s what killed us. We normally start out with 25-30 points in the first quarter. We started out really slow and that’s what killed us in the last two minutes.”

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