Explosive Mountaineers Advance to Big 12 Semis

The West Virginia University women’s basketball used an explosive 48-point first half en route to an 82-58 win over No. 19-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday evening in the quarterfinal round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships held at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The sixth-seeded Mountaineers (21-10) sprinted out to a 12-point lead in the first four minutes. No. 3-seed Oklahoma (22-9) trimmed the lead to eight twice in the first quarter, but WVU responded each time with jumpers from Teana Muldrow and Tynice Martin. WVU would go on to score 48 points in the opening half, the most in a Big 12 Tournament game since Texas tallied 52 in 2008. West Virginia held as much as a 37-point lead late in the third quarter. OU outscored WVU, 25-12, in the final quarter, as the Mountaineers picked up their third win this season over an Associated Press Top 25 team.

With the victory, the Mountaineers will face No. 2-seed Texas in the semifinal game on Sunday, March 5. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT and the contest is televised nationally on FS1. WVU makes its third Big 12 Championship semifinal appearance in five seasons.

Martin poured in a game-high 21 points, connecting on seven field goals which included four triples. Muldrow followed with 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, dished out three assists, blocked three shots and collected two steals. The East Orange, New Jersey, native made 8-of-11 from the field for 72.3 percent shooting.

Katrina Pardee knocked down 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) from the field to finish with 13 points. Lanay Montgomery also reached double-figure scoring with 12 points and seven rebounds. Chania Ray distributed 10 assists and scored six points in 37 minutes.

“We come out ready to play. I knew we were going to be ready to play,” said coach Mike Carey. “Our shootaround today earlier was probably the best shootaround we had all year. They were focused, a lot of energy. In fact, I had to cut it down because they were going too hard, so we just cut things down. The other thing I thought was great is out of 33 field goals we had 20 assists and that means we were moving the ball against their traps. 1-3-1 that's what you had to do, so I thought the players did a great job of doing that.”

Offensively, West Virginia shot 55.9 percent (33-of-59) from the field and 45.0 percent (9-of-20) from three-point range. WVU dished out 20 assists, collected 11 steals and blocked eight shots. WVU converted 19 OU miscues into 26 points and outscored the Sooners, 34-26, in the paint.

The Mountaineers opened up with a 12-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game. Montgomery and Pardee combined for all 12 points as WVU made five of their first eight buckets. WVU would score 26 points in the quarter and hold a 26-10 lead after shooting 61.1 percent (11-of-18) in the first quarter.

Martin and Montgomery continued the Mountaineers’ offensive spark as Martin drained two triples and Montgomery made two buckets to extend WVU’s lead to 36-13 with 7:20 remaining. The Mountaineers closed the second quarter with 12 more points to hold a 48-24 advantage. WVU shot 57.6 percent (19-of-33) from the field compared to Oklahoma’s 25.0 percent (7-of-28). Martin led all scorers with 16 points.

West Virginia continued its shooting barrage, knocking down 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from the field and extending its lead to as many as 37 late in the third quarter and finished the period with a 70-33 lead.

OU opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back buckets from Maddie Manning and Peyton Little to trim the game to 32. The Sooners finished with 25 points in the quarter, but the Mountaineers held on for their third Big 12 semifinal appearance in five seasons.

WVU faces No. 2-seed Texas in a 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT matchup at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday. The game is televised on FS1.

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