The West Virginia women's basketball team chipped away at a 12-point deficit for a 71-67 come-from-behind win over No. 11/13 Oklahoma State, Saturday, in Stillwater.
"That was a great game. Oklahoma State has a great team. They kicked our butt on the glass and I thought they out-hustled us for a majority of the game," coach Mike Carey said. "I was trying to find a combination of five people that played hard. Finally, I put Jess Harlee at the four and I thought she helped us on the perimeter, got us a couple steals and got us going a little bit."
With 1:35 left in the game, the Mountaineers (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) pulled away from a 67-67 tie with a Bria Holmes layup. After Liz Donohoe missed her second layup attempt on a putback, senior forward Jess Harlee came down with the rebound and was fouled to buy time. With 30 seconds on the clock, Harlee hit the first free throw, but Katelyn Loecker came down with the rebound to give OSU possession, trailing by three. A missed OSU three attempt was rebounded by senior guard Christal Caldwell, who was fouled and converted the back end from the line for the final score. Tiffany Bias threw up a desperate long-range attempt in the final three seconds, which fell off the mark.
"Our girls showed a lot of heart," Carey said. "We were down big in the first half and down big in the second half, and fought back. So you have to give our girls a lot of credit also."
The Mountaineers were down by as many as 12 points with 6:18 remaining in the second half, and Christal Caldwell rattled off five consecutive points before fouling and sending Bias to the line. Down nine with five minutes, an Averee Fields' jumper sparked an 11-2 run down to the 67-67 tie.
The win ended a 12-game unbeaten streak for the Cowgirls (12-1, 1-1 Big 12), while giving the Mountaineers a 13-game win streak.
Sophomore guard Holmes led all players with 21 points, the second 20-point game of her career. Holmes also grabbed four rebounds, three steals and added three 3-pointers for WVU. Senior center Asya Bussie added 13 points, recorded five blocks and co-led on the boards with senior guard Caldwell with seven rebounds. Caldwell also chipped in another 12 points. Fields added eight points, while senior guard Taylor Palmer added another five off the bench.
WVU was outrebounded, 45-34, for the first time this season. The Mountaineers shot 46.2 percent (24-52) from the field, 26.3 percent (5-19) from 3-point range and 72 percent (18-25) from the free throw line. The Cowgirls had the advantage from the free throw line, converting 21-of-32 attempts (65.6%), made 46.2 percent (6-13) of their threes and went cold from the field in the closing half, shooting only 23.3 percent with seven field goals, finishing the game at 31.7 percent.
OSU was led in scoring by LaShawn Jones with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Bias and Brittany Atkins added 13 points each.
The Mountaineers return home for a 7 p.m. tip with Baylor on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at the WVU Coliseum.