West Virginia set to tangle with Wildcats
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 07:02
The West Virginia women’s basketball team will welcome Kansas State to the Coliseum tonight for a rematch of its Jan. 12 contest.
The Mountaineers prevailed in the first ever matchup between the two teams, knocking off the Wildcats 66-52 in front of a crowd of nearly 7,000 Kansas State supporters.
With only three regular season games remaining on the schedule, tonight is a critical game in terms of the Mountaineers’ postseason hopes.
West Virginia (16-10, 8-7) will host No. 1 Baylor Saturday and then travel to Texas to face the Longhorns March 5. The Big 12 women’s basketball conference tournament will begin three days later March 8.
Kansas State (13-14, 4-11) currently sits in eighth place in the Big 12, and the Mountaineers are two spots ahead of them in sixth. Senior guard Brittany Chambers leads the Wildcats’ offensive attack, averaging more than 19 points and seven rebounds per contest. Sophomore guard Haley Texada (12.4 ppg) also averages double-digit scoring for Kansas State.
The Mountaineers are coming off a triumphant 58-50 road victory against TCU in which the team connected on a season-best 10 three-point field goals. Junior guard Taylor Palmer paced all Mountaineers in scoring with 19 points, including five three-pointers. Palmer (10.2 ppg) is one of three West Virginia players to average more than 10 points per game. Redshirt junior guard Christal Caldwell (12.9 ppg) is the team’s leading scorer and redshirt senior center Ayana Dunning (10.2 ppg) is the team’s leading rebounder (6.3 rpg).
The Mountaineers have gotten significant contributions from a variety of players, including newcomer Bria Holmes and sophomore forward Averee Fields. Holmes, a freshman guard from New Haven, Ct., is averaging 6.2 points per contest despite playing less than 13 minutes per game.
Fields, a Murray, Ky., native who has started all 26 games for West Virginia this season, is averaging 8.3 points per game and has cemented herself as one of the Mountaineers’ most consistent players.
In the Jan. 12 matchup between West Virginia and Kansas State, Caldwell and Dunning powered the Mountaineers’ offensive attack scoring 19 and 14 points, respectively.
The Mountaineers were able to limit Kansas State to just 7-of-22 shooting from beyond the arc, and for the season, West Virginia ranks second in the Big 12 in three-point shooting defense.
Kansas State will look to Chambers to provide another solid performance offensively if it hopes to leave Morgantown with the upset. Chambers finished with a game-high 20 points in the last meeting and played all 40 minutes of the game.
Kansas State took a thin 23-22 margin into the locker room at halftime but failed to match West Virginia’s second-half surge, as the Mountaineers outscored the Wildcats 44-29 in the second half to solidify the win – West Virginia’s first-ever road win as a member of the Big 12 Conference. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.