Texas pulls away in second half of 58-45 victory against West Virginia
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 00:03
The West Virginia women’s basketball team’s search for a tenth Big 12 Conference win fell short Tuesday after the hosting Texas Longhorns dominated the glass and captured a 58-45 win.
The Mountaineers (17-12, 9-9) were outrebounded 43-25 and failed to establish any firm rhythm offensively to overcome the massive rebounding deficit.
For the game, West Virginia connected on 31.6 percent of field goal tries and only 25 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
Junior guard Taylor Palmer paced the Mountaineers’ offensive attack, finishing with 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field. Redshirt junior guard Christal Caldwell chipped in with 10 points and was the only other West Virginia player to finish with double-digit scoring.
Texas placed three players in double-digits and was powered behind sophomore forward Nneka Enemkpali’s game-high 16 points and 15 rebounds. Freshman guard Empress Davenport and junior guard Chassidy Fussell each added 15 and 12 points, respectively.
The Longhorns held a slim 24-20 advantage heading into the intermission despite turning the ball over 15 times. West Virginia got a hot start from Palmer, who scored eight of her 14 points in the first frame.
The Mountaineers shot an icy 2 of 11 from deep, but Texas didn’t capitalize from beyond the arc either, missing its only 3-point attempt of the first half.
In the second half, Texas distanced itself from West Virginia and would ultimately outscore the Mountaineers 34-25. Texas shot nearly 50 percent from the field in the second half and got 19 points off the bench compared to 3 for West Virginia.
After two minutes of play in the second half, redshirt senior Ayana Dunning converted on a layup and tied the game at 25-25.
Dunning, the team’s leading rebounder, was limited to just two rebounds and eight points for the contest.
Both teams would trade baskets for the next several minutes, but ultimately, Texas put on a run that would distance themselves from the Mountaineers and put the game out of reach.
Between the 12-minute and eight-minute mark, the Longhorns put on a 12-2 run, resulting in a 50-38 advantage that proved to be the difference in the game.
This was the third meeting between the two teams and the first victory in the series for Texas. West Virginia defeated the Longhorns Jan. 2 at the Coliseum and also in the first round of last season’s NCAA tournament.
Next up for the Mountaineers is the Big 12 Conference tournament, which will be held at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas. West Virginia will finish in the top-six of the Conference standings, which results in a first-round bye of the Conference tournament.
The Longhorns have now won two consecutive games, and West Virginia will enter the Conference tournament on a two-game slide.
The Big 12 Conference tournament will begin Friday and last through Monday.