In the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Tournament, the West Virginia women’s basketball team pulled out another gutsy win, coming back from seven points down in the final 90 seconds of the game.
“It’s because they don’t quit. They just don’t quit,” WVU head coach Mike Carey said after the win. “I really don’t have to pump them up when they come over at the end like that when the game is close. They’re talking and they're focused and all of that.”
The Mountaineers were trailing 56-51 with 43 seconds to go. From there, it was all Kirsten Deans. Deans went on an 8-0 run by herself and stole the game from Kansas State. Deans’ final basket of the night was a layup at the buzzer, after stealing a pass from KSU.
“We knew they (KSU) were going to lob it with five seconds,” Carey said. “So, you know, we played the lob and were able to get the tip and the layup.”
When the pass was stolen, Carey wanted to make sure Deans knew how much time was on the clock.
“I kept yelling, ‘you got time, you got time, go, go, go,’” Carey said. “Because I was just afraid, she would just pull up at half court, but she had time to get to the rim and she did.”
One of the things WVU was outmatched in the first half was rebounding the ball. The Wildcats outrebounded the Mountaineers, 27-12, in the first half of play. Something at halftime must’ve been said because West Virginia went on to grab seven more rebounds in the second half than Kansas State.
“I can’t tell you what I said alright, but you’re right, I addressed that rebounding at halftime,” Carey said. “I addressed a lot of stuff at halftime. We can’t put all the pressure on Kari (Niblack), Esmery (Martinez) and Blessing (Ejiofor) to do every rebound. So, yeah, we did address that a lot at halftime.”
The Mountaineers will move onto the semifinal round of the Big 12 Tournament on Saturday night. West Virginia will await the winner of the Oklahoma State/Oklahoma game. Carey says the team will be much better prepared tomorrow.
“I’ll just say, we’ve got to play a lot better tomorrow man,” Carey said. “We got to play a lot better tomorrow, and I know we will, we’ll come and execute a little bit better. So, we’re going to go now as a team, go and eat, watch the game and we’ll find out who we play.”