The No.13 West Virginia women’s basketball team extended its winning streak to seven games Saturday afternoon with a 61-40 road victory at Kansas State.
WVU (24-3, 13-2 Big 12) is now 7-1 in conference road games, with its lone loss coming at the hands of Texas.
The Mountaineers used a 15-2 run in six minutes of the opening half to gain an early 15-8 lead. WVU went on another 13-0 run before closing out the half and lead 34-19 at the break while shooting 50 percent from the field.
“We got off to a slow start and then we got moving,” said West Virginia head coach Mike Carey. “The people coming off the bench came with energy and played pretty well. Christal Caldwell stepped up today. Averee Fields did in the beginning until she got into foul trouble. We’re just glad to get a win.”
The Wildcat offense was limited to just seven field goals in the opening half, which included a 10-minute drought without recording a field goal. WVU shot 43.6 percent for the game, while holding the Wildcat offense to 27.1 percent.
Despite the win, Carey said he knows his team has to improve before heading into the NCAA Tournament.
“We got into early foul trouble because we’re not moving our feet,” he said. “We had some people not hitting their shots, so they quit playing defense and starting pouting. We need to quit worrying about scoring and more about team.”
Caldwell scored 14 of her 21 points in the opening frame.
“I thought (Caldwell) did a good job all night,” Carey said. “During the first media timeout, she was all over (the players). I didn’t have to say a word. She was ready to play, she was fired up. And that’s the kind of leadership we expect from her.”
The Mountaineers have limited five of their last six opponents to 62 points or fewer and had held 18 opponents this season below 60 points. Caldwell led WVU in scoring for the sixth time this season, and her 21 points were her third 20-point outing this season. Fields and senior center Asya Bussie also chipped in with 10 points, with all 10 of Fields’ coming in the first half.
The Mountaineers also outrebounded K-State 42-28, led by Taylor Palmer who grabbed seven rebounds off the bench. The WVU defense forced 15 turnovers, leading to 17 Mountaineer points.
The Wildcats were led by Ashlynn Knoll with 13 points, while Kindred Wesemann added 11 points and three 3-pointers. Leticia Romero, K-State’s leading scorer, was held to just eight points.
WVU returns home this Wednesday for a 7 p.m. matchup against Texas Tech. The Mountaineers defeated the Lady Raiders 70-51 Jan. 22.