WVU Women prepare for Texas

Saturday night in Norman, the West Virginia women’s basketball team stumbled to one of their worst defeats of the season, going ice-cold in a 19-point loss at Oklahoma.


Off a quick turnaround, the Mountaineers (17-6, 5-6 Big 12) will have the opportunity to avenge one of their other most disheartening losses of the season on Monday. The No. 6 Texas Longhorns (18-4, 9-2 Big 12) pounded West Virginia by 21 when these two teams met in Austin on New Year’s Eve, but this time the Mountaineers will have home court advantage on its side.


West Virginia was undefeated and looking very much like one of the best teams in the country when they rolled into Texas over a month ago, but were stifled entirely by a physical Longhorn defense in a blowout loss that the Mountaineers might not have fully recovered from.


“They were a lot more physical than we were,” head coach Mike Carey said after the game. “They wanted the ball a lot more than we did. We shied away. I thought we would be more physical and play, would battle them in the paint and we didn’t do it.”


And on Saturday, West Virginia was outplayed in a blowout loss similar to the one it suffered against the Longhorns. In both games, West Virginia shot around 32 percent from the field and had to deal with sloppy offensive play from its primary ballhandlers, but Texas brings another dimension: an overwhelming ferocity on the boards.


Last time out, Texas won the rebounding battle by a margin so wide that it seems like a typo, grabbing 63 rebounds to West Virginia’s 30. Texas has outrebounded opponents by an average margin of 13.6 this season – second in the Big 12 only to No. 3 Baylor – but yet does not have particularly imposing size, and lacks a single player averaging more than six boards a game individually.


West Virginia can match the Longhorns in size, but Texas’ depth made the difference last time out. And on Monday, it will be imperative that the Mountaineers find a way to once again get senior forward Teana Muldrow going.


Muldrow has been West Virginia’s superstar in 2017-18, filling in for the absence of leading scorer Tynice Martin by having a career year in her senior season. But on Saturday, Muldrow struggled to her worst offensive game of the season, tallying just 5 points on 1-8 shooting.


The injury-plagued Mountaineers have only been able to consistently count on Muldrow and junior forward Naomi Davenport to score, and Muldrow’s rough night – coupled with Davenport’s inefficient night shooting – doomed the Mountaineers last time out.


Tip-off between West Virginia and Texas is set for 7 p.m. Monday at the WVU Coliseum, and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1.

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