West Virginia 71, Baylor 69
Courtesy Big 12 Digital Network
WACO, Texas - Junior forward Averee Fields
used a coast to coast game-winning jumper as the No. 11/10 West Virginia women’s basketball team defeated No. 6/5 Baylor 71-69, Sunday, at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
“It was a great game with two good teams. Both teams struggled to score at times because of defense, but both teams were very aggressive,” coach Mike Carey said. “I’m very proud of the team—it was a great win.”
The Mountaineers snapped Baylor’s 35-game home conference win streak, while remaining in contention for a share of the Big 12 regular-season title. The Mountaineers must defeat Kansas on Tuesday, March 4, at the WVU Coliseum for a share of the title.
The only WVU women’s basketball team to win a regular-season conference title was the 1992 team that won the Atlantic 10 Regular Season title, finishing 16-0 in the league.
WVU is now 26-3 overall and in a tie with Baylor for first place with a 15-2 league record. Baylor moves to 25-4 overall and 15-2 in Big 12 play.
Juniors Linda Stepney
and Crystal Leary
trapped Baylor’s Odyssey Sims with 19 seconds on the clock. Passing it blindly, she turned the ball over to the hands of Fields, who charged down the court for the game-winning layup, 70-69, and 12 seconds remaining. The Lady Bears turned the ball over with 1.4 seconds, and Stepney was fouled on the inbound play. She hit the front end of the free throw attempts to seal WVU’s win.
The Mountaineers shot 50 percent (27-54) for the game, while limiting Baylor to 39.2 percent (20-51) from the field. WVU made 41.2 percent (7-17) from 3-point range, while limiting the Lady Bears to only one three, 16.7 percent (1-6) for the game. WVU made only 45.5 percent (10-22) of its free throws, while Baylor hit 82.4 percent (28-34).
The Lady Bears took their largest lead, 47-39, but a 3-point play from Bussie made it a 47-42 game with 11:51 left. WVU first tied the game at 58-58 with 5:48 remaining, but the lead went back and forth until Fields’ go-ahead jumper.
“I thought Asya Bussie
kept us in the game for the most part because we were struggling to score, but when she got in foul trouble Christal Caldwell
picked it up. That’s something we’ve been doing all year; someone gets in foul trouble, goes down, and someone else picks up the slack,” Carey said.
In the opening half, the Lady Bears were held for five minutes without a point, but WVU could not take advantage. Bussie ended WVU's six-minute scoring drought with a layup, followed by a Holmes' three, trailing Baylor by only two points, 18-16, with 6:30 until halftime. WVU trailed 33-29 at halftime, with Baylor recording 15 points from the free throw line. The Mountaineers actually recorded more first-half field goals, 11-9, but allowed BU 15 points from the free throw line.
Senior center Asya Bussie
led the Mountaineers with 21 points and five rebounds, to go with three blocked shots and a pair of assists, before fouling out in the final minute. Senior guard Christal Caldwell
added 17 points, including three 3-pointers in only 21 minutes of play. Sophomore guard Bria Holmes
chipped in 12 points.
The Mountaineers forced 15 Baylor turnovers, including 10 on Sims, but had 18 of their own giveaways. Baylor edged WVU on the boards, 37-30, but WVU managed to record 20 second-chance points to Baylor’s seven.
Sims recorded a game-leading 39 points, while Nina Davis added a double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds off the bench.
WVU returns home to the WVU Coliseum for its final home game this season on Tuesday, March 4 at 7 p.m. against the Kansas Jayhawks. There are five seniors on this year’s team, Asya Bussie
, Christal Caldwell
, Brooke Hampton
, Jess Harlee
and Taylor Palmer
, who will all be recognized. In addition to celebrating the seniors, the Mountaineers say thank you with Fan Appreciation Night. Small popcorn and small drinks will be available for only $1 each. The first 1,500 fans will also receive senior posters courtesy of Coke Zero.