Despite redshirt junior guard Tynice Martin’s 22 points, the West Virginia University women’s basketball team fell to the Oklahoma Sooners, 80-69, on Saturday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.
Three Mountaineers finished in double figures against the Sooners, including freshman forward Kari Niblack (14 points), senior guard/forward Naomi Davenport (19 points) and Martin (22 points).
Davenport also led WVU on the glass with eight rebounds and finished with three steals. Freshman guard Madisen Smith tallied a team-leading seven assists.
“Give Oklahoma a lot of credit,” coach Mike Carey said. “They came in here and played harder than we did, surprisingly. We knew what was on the line, and we came in here and didn’t play hard. They came in here and played hard. Their two guards shot the ball very well, probably as well as any guards have shot against us all year.”
For the second straight game at home, the Mountaineers were limited to just 3-pointers from the field in the first quarter. After Martin went 1-of-2 at the free-throw line to get West Virginia on the board in the first, junior guard Lucky Rudd and Davenport each hit a trey as WVU trailed OU, 11-7 four minutes into the action.
Smith and Martin hit triples on back-to-back possessions, bringing the Mountaineers within three at 16-13. Niblack hit a free throw with just under two to go in the first, but OU countered with a jumper soon after as West Virginia found itself trailing 18-14 at the end of the first period.
Davenport opened the second with a jumper to cut OU’s lead to two in the opening seconds. The Sooners struck back with a bucket, but Niblack hit a jumper and drew the foul, converting the free throw to make it a one-point game as WVU trailed 20-19 midway through the period.
Martin and Davenport traded buckets with the Sooners before Rudd hit a jumper on the fast break to give WVU a 25-24 lead. OU hit a 3-pointer, but a jumper by Davenport tied the game at 27-27 with 2:15 to play in the half.
A pair of late layups by Niblack tied things up once again before the Sooners hit a three at the buzzer as the Mountaineers trailed OU 34-31 at the half.
Martin hit the charity stripe to open the third quarter, but the Sooners did the same down the other end before adding a jumper and a layup as WVU found itself in a seven-point hole in the opening minutes of the second half.
Pardee picked up her first points on a fast-break layup off a Davenport steal, cutting the deficit to five. The Sooners used a pair of 3-pointers to score eight straight points, taking a 48-35 lead over the Mountaineers midway through the quarter. Niblack picked up a pair at the free-throw line, while Martin added a layup and converted the ensuing free throw to put the score at 53-40 in favor of the Sooners with 3:04 to go in the third.
Niblack again got the bucket and foul but missed the free throw. Martin added a jumper in the paint following a Sooner triple and Niblack came up with a block down the other end. This time, it was Smith’s turn to hit the free-throw line as she went 2-for-2. However, it wasn’t enough as WVU trailed OU 58-46 at the end of three.
Following an Oklahoma bucket at the 9:28 mark, Niblack again would head to the line and went 1-for-2 to open fourth-quarter scoring for WVU. The two teams traded blows at the free-throw line for the majority of the fourth, until Davenport nailed a 3-pointer with 3:54 that cut the Mountaineer deficit to 11. Davenport drained two free throws shortly after to get within nine, but Oklahoma went to the free-throw line five times in the final two minutes scoring nine points to put the game out of reach.
West Virginia shot 23-of-65 (35.4%) from the field, including 6-of-24 (25.0%) from 3-point range, and assisted on 13 of its 23 field goals. The Mountaineers held and 8-5 advantage in steals and went 17-of-27 (63.0%) from the line. WVU also forced 19 Oklahoma turnovers.
Oklahoma shot 27-of-51 (52.9%) from the field, including 10-of-20 (50.0%) from behind the arc. The Sooners held a 40-32 advantage on the boards. Oklahoma guard Ana Llanusa led all scorers with 26 points.
West Virginia will hit the road for back-to-back games in Kansas next week. The Mountaineers will face Kansas State on Wednesday in a 7 p.m. ET tip in Manhattan before taking on Kansas on Saturday in Lawrence.