After 70-51 victory over Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, Wednesday night, the No. 18 West Virginia Women’s basketball team is now in sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the Big 12 Conference. With some help from Kansas taking down Baylor Sunday and additional help from Oklahoma, WVU head coach Mike Carey and his team own the Big 12 for the first time in program history.
“First of all, let me give Texas Tech credit. I knew they were going to play extremely hard here at home. They play hard. They ran a lot of good things and in my opinion (Amber) Battle is as good as any player in the Big 12, so give her a lot of credit also,” Carey said. “I thought Asya Bussie was the difference in the game. I don’t think they had an answer for Bussie.”
Bussie finished her night just short of a double-double with 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots all in 36 minutes, leading the Mountaineers in all categories.
Senior guard Christal Caldwell was also important in Wednesday’s win. The senior dropped 10 points to make her the 29th player in program history and the 11th player under Carey to reach the 1,000-point milestone.
The Lady Raiders were held without a field goal for 9:05 of the first half. With the game tied at 4-4, the Mountaineers used a 15-2 run to take a 13-point lead. Despite sending Texas Tech to the foul line 15 times in the opening half, WVU claimed a 34-24 lead at halftime.
Head coach Candi Whitaker had her team play much more inspired basketball in the second half. The Lady Raiders improved their
shooting, making 33.3 percent of their shots from beyond the arc and shot 78.9 from the charity stripe. Their improved performance help cut the double-digit deficit to nine points in the closing minutes. With just under five minutes to play, the Mountaineers responded with a 10-1 run, stretching the lead back out to 18 to put them up 67-49 with only two minutes left to play.
“We turned the ball over a lot more than we normally do today, so give them credit for that. Anytime you go on the road and get a 19-point win, we’re happy with that,” Carey said.
Battle led her team in scoring with 19 points, including six points from the free throw line. Audrisa Harrison led Texas Tech in rebounds, grabbing five boards.
The Mountaineers continue their long stay in Texas as they prepare to take on the Texas Longhorns Saturday in Austin.