Fields stepping up as consistent force for WVU
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 23:02
Hampered by injuries and sure to be tested by new conference competitors, the West Virginia women’s basketball team knew it would have to find players to step up if it wanted to achieve the lofty goals it set for itself in the preseason.
Though there are many players who have stepped up in key situations, there is one in particular who is leaving her mark as the Mountaineers march toward the end of Big 12 play.
That player is Averee Fields.
The sophomore forward from Murray, Ky., is on a tear the last two games, scoring seven critical points in the win against Iowa State and a career-high 19 points in the previous game’s loss to Oklahoma State.
Fields said after the Feb. 13 loss to Oklahoma State the Mountaineers needed to make a run down the stretch to position itself for the postseason.
"We definitely felt confident. We’ve been preparing for these teams," she said. "We know we have to win these games down the stretch."
Fields is averaging 8.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this season, but her trajectory is trending upward as she continues to grow comfortable on the court.
A viable option as a reserve last season, Fields has been thrust into the starting lineup this season and has exceeded expectations. However, if West Virginia isn’t able to finish the final segment of its schedule strong, there might not be a postseason for Fields to shine in.
"At the end of the season if we don’t win these games, then we won’t have a postseason, and we won’t get on a run later," she said. "Every single person has to bring it whether if they play one minute or 20 minutes."
The Mountaineers’ 68-66 comeback road victory against Iowa State would not have been possible if it weren’t for Fields.
With 48 seconds to play and the score tied at 66-66, Fields stole the ball from Iowa State’s possession and was fouled while shooting a layup.
On the subsequent free-throw attempts, Fields converted one-of-two tries and gave the Mountaineers a lead it would never relinquish.
After the win, head coach Mike Carey said he thought the win against Iowa State was essential to rebuilding the momentum the Mountaineers lost in the Oklahoma State game.
"I thought we did a good job. We had to make it ugly, because we weren’t scoring, so we had to have more quickness and try to get some traps and turnovers," he said.
"(Iowa State) does a great job. They’re a great team and very physical. They had some foul trouble, and we were in foul trouble, but we were able to pull it off at the end. It’s a big win for us coming off a loss at home against Oklahoma State," he said.