Sophomore guard Bria Holmes used a career-best 31 points to guide the No. 17 West Virginia women's basketball team to an 84-44 victory over Kansas State, Saturday, at the WVU Coliseum.
The Wildcats (9-13, 3-8) couldn't dig themselves out of a 19-point halftime deficit, trailing the Mountaineers 43-24. Holmes recorded eight of WVU's first 12 points and closed out the first half leading all players with 19 points, including five threes.
"We were fortunate that Bria Holmes got hot the last eight minutes of the first half, but I thought overall we played hard," coach Mike Carey said. "In the beginning, you could tell that we had not played in a week. That is why it is great that we have a deep bench and people can come in."
K-State came back from a 10-point deficit with a 15-3 run over seven minutes of the first half to put WVU at a two-point disadvantage, 19-17, with 7:35 until the break. From that point, WVU used a 26-5 run to close the first half, starting with points from seniors Asya Bussie, Christal Caldwell, Jess Harlee and a three from Brooke Hampton.
With 2:52 until halftime, senior guard Taylor Palmer hit a three as the shot clock expired to record her 1,000th career point, becoming the 30th player in WVU women's basketball history and 12th player under coach Carey to record 1,000 points.
"I was very happy for her (Taylor)," coach Carey said. "Thank God she hit her first shot so she could relax a little bit. Taylor (Palmer) has done a great job for us all four years and has done a great job accepting her role this year off the bench. Quite frankly, in her freshman year, I did not know who she was going to guard. Now, she can guard any of them, I do not care how quick they are. She knows what we want and what angles to take. She has gotten better every year and that is what we need off the bench."
The Mountaineers shot a season-high 56.6 percent (30-53) from the field, and recorded 11 threes (57.9%) from beyond the arc. WVU limited K-State to a season-low 26.7 percent (16-60) from the field, and 20 percent (4-20) from 3-point range.
Holmes made 10-of-14 from the field, 6-of-6 from the free throw line, pulled down six rebounds, grabbed two steals and had a block in 28 minutes. Caldwell added 17 points, three assists and five rebounds in 28 minutes. Palmer contributed 13 points, including three treys off the bench in 19 minutes.
Junior forward Averee Fields helped WVU to a 38-32 rebounding advantage over K-State as she led all players with seven boards. Junior guard Linda Stepney dished out seven assists.
The Mountaineers earned 25 points off 19 K-State turnovers, while limiting their own giveaways to 14. WVU had 14 fast break points, while stopping the Wildcats from having a single fast break. The Mountaineers dominated the paint with 30 points to KSU's 18.
K-State was led in scoring by Leticia Romero with 12 points, while Breanna Lewis and Kindred Wesemann each chipped in 10.
Today's win helped WVU to its eighth 20-win season in the last 11 years as it is currently 20-3 overall, with a 9-2 mark in conference play, and in second place in the Big 12 standings.
The Mountaineers hit the road for a 7 p.m. matchup at Oklahoma on Thursday, Feb. 13, in Norman, Okla., and return home for a 1 p.m. tip with TCU on Sunday, Feb. 16, at the WVU Coliseum.