West Virginia’s defensive struggles allowed TCU’s Lauren Heard to lead the Horned Frogs over the Mountaineers, 77-63, on Senior Day at the WVU Coliseum.
Heard was unstoppable on the offensive end, scoring 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting, leading all scorers.
She scored the first points of the contest behind the arc, giving the Horned Frogs a lead they wouldn’t let go of all game. Heard’s hot start also seemed to set the tone for the rest of her team, who made 62.5 percent of their shots in the first quarter.
West Virginia’s offense never seemed to get off the ground. Tynice Martin led the Mountaineers with 17 points in her final game at the Coliseum, but it took her 21 shots to get there (making only 8). That mark includes 10 three-pointers, of which she only made one.
The Mountaineers went especially cold in the second quarter, making just 28.6 percent of their shots. They got lucky in the period, though, that TCU cooled off as well, but not enough for WVU to prevent an 11-point deficit going into the locker room.
The third quarter was where Heard really took off. She dropped 13 of her points after the break, making 4 of her 5 shots while adding another 5 points at the line. She nearly outscored the Mountaineers by herself, as WVU mustered just 15 points after halftime.
WVU didn’t quit, though. They made a push in the fourth quarter, at one point cutting what was once a 20-point TCU lead in half with 3:40 remaining. With help inside from Esmery Martinez and Kari Niblack, Martin led the Mountaineers to outscore TCU in the fourth quarter. It was too little, too late, though, as the double-digit lead proved large enough for the Horned Frogs to hang on.
As it stands, the Mountaineers are the No. 6 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, which gives them a first-round bye and a second-round tip-off on Friday. West Virginia awaits the result of Oklahoma State’s matchup with Texas in Austin, and with a Cowgirl win, WVU would be bumped to the No. 7 seed, tipping off on Thursday.