Mountaineers looking for revenge against Oklahoma
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 07:02
A pink-clad Mountaineer fan base will greet No. 20 Oklahoma Sunday when the Sooners travel to the Coliseum to face West Virginia.
Fresh off a five-point victory against No. 19 Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers will look to parlay newfound momentum into a victory, avenging a three-point Jan. 2 road loss at Oklahoma (16-4, 6-2)
West Virginia (12-8, 4-5) is using Saturday’s 1 p.m. tip off for the annual Play 4 Kay game. The Mountaineers will wear pink uniforms and a strong turnout is expected; two free tickets to the game will be inserted into the Saturday edition of The Dominion Post.
The game will also be a part of Alumni Weekend as former Mountaineer women’s basketball players return and be recognized at the game.
Head coach Mike Carey said the team was relieved to capture a close victory against Oklahoma State after losing four Big 12 conference games by four or less points.
"First of all, that’s a big win for us," he said after the win. "We’ve had about four of these in the Big 12, having the lead at halftime and then losing the lead with (less than) four minutes. We almost did it, but give our girls a lot of credit. We hung in there."
The Sooners tote a well-balanced offensive attack featuring three players who average ten or more points per game.
Junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg is the Sooners’ leading scorer (19.1 ppg) and was a first-team all-Big 12 selection last season.
Redshirt junior guard Christal Caldwell made a career-best five 3-pointers in West Virginia’s victory over Oklahoma State and her clutch jumper late in the fourth quarter sealed the Mountaineers’ win. Carey said Caldwell is the Mountaineers most consistent player.
"Christal has been our most consistent player all year and plays extremely hard," he said. "The big bucket down the stretch was a big shot for us. She played hard."
Oklahoma 6-foot-6 senior center Nicole Griffin and 6-foot-3 senior forward Joanna McFarland provide a stable balance of size and power in the paint. The two post-players average a combined 13.6 rebounds per game.
The Sooners have lost twice in conference play, including a 17-point loss at Baylor and a 21-point loss on the road at Iowa State. In their previous game, Oklahoma handled TCU 74-53.
In the Mountaineers’ last meeting with Oklahoma, junior guard Taylor Palmer scored 30 points – best among all scorers. She was the only Mountaineer to finish in double-figures, though, and Oklahoma’s balance proved to be fatal. Five Sooners scored 10 or more points, led by Ellenberg’s 19 points.
West Virginia held a slight advantage at halftime, leading Oklahoma 39-36 heading into the locker room. The Sooners used a strong second half to close out the game with a 71-68 victory.
Palmer, Caldwell and Dunning all fouled out for the Mountaineers, and sophomore forward Christal Leary was charged with a technical foul.
If the Mountaineers want to pull out a victory on Play 4 Kay day, it’s safe to say a more balanced offensive attack and keeping key players out of foul trouble will be necessary.