The short-lived conference championship hopes of the WVU women’s basketball team have been dashed.
In their quarterfinal matchup of the 2019 Big 12 Tournament on Saturday, the fourth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers were upset by the fifth-seeded Kansas State Wildcats, 72-59.
Mistakes haunted the Mountaineers (20-10) all game as they limited the team’s scoring opportunities.
At the end of the afternoon, WVU had committed 11 more turnovers than the Wildcats. Kansas State (21-10) had 18 points off of opposing turnovers compared to the Mountaineers’ three.
“Just look at the hustle plays,” WVU head coach Mike Carey said. “They out-hustled us. (The) points off turnovers, 18-3; second-chance points, 18-7; fast break points, 8-0. That says all you need to know on that.”
Additionally, Kansas State outshot WVU 68-50 from the field.
West Virginia’s mistakes aided a fast start for the Wildcats as, at the end of the first quarter, Kansas State held a 13-point lead.
However, thanks to a strong second quarter and a 9-0 run during the final minutes of the half, WVU was able to shrink the deficit as they entered halftime down 35-29.
Entering the second half, the game featured much of the same as Kansas State’s success continued. While the Mountaineers continued to do their best in mending the gap, the team was never able to fully wrestle the lead away from the Wildcats.
“We cut it to one or two and then came down and turned it over three times, took some bad shots and didn’t defend on the other end,” Carey said. “They outworked us.”
After West Virginia went more than six minutes in the fourth quarter without a field goal, a Kansas State victory was in the bag.
The Mountaineers were able to receive double-digit scoring games from forwards Naomi Davenport with 14 points and Kari Niblack with 13 points. However, WVU’s scoring pales in comparison to Kansas State as the Wildcats had two players end the game with more than 20 points.
While Kansas State will advance to the semifinal round to face top-ranked Baylor, the Mountaineers will head home and await March 18 when they will see if they have a place in the field of the 2019 NCAA Tournament or the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).