After a thrilling comeback against Kansas State, the West Virginia’s women’s basketball team will take on Oklahoma State on Saturday in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament.
The Mountaineers (20-5, 13-5 Big 12) were able to advance against the Wildcats despite being down five points with only 43 seconds left as Kirsten Deans willed the team to a win. Deans went on a 7-0 run by herself to close out the game and prevent the upset loss in the quarterfinal. Kysre Gondrezick led in scoring with 26 points while Deans finished with 11.
For Oklahoma State (18-7, 13-5 Big 12), the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, it also had to stave off an upset loss against in-state rival Oklahoma. After outscoring the Sooners by 13 in the second half, Oklahoma State forced overtime and closed out an 89-80 victory. Ja’Mee Asberry led the way with 28 points while Natasha Mack put up 20 points and 16 rebounds.
Looking ahead at this matchup, the Mountaineers will have to rebound better than they did against Kansas State in order to get the win. West Virginia escaped with a two point win despite being outrebounded 43-35.
In splitting the regular-season series with Oklahoma State, Mack proved to be a problem on the glass for West Virginia by combining for 17 rebounds in the two games.
Another aspect that the Mountaineers will have to improve against Oklahoma State is their defense. In the December loss to the squad, West Virginia allowed the Cowgirls to shoot 56% from the field and a staggering 63% from beyond the arc.
Head coach Mike Carey often discusses the importance of his team earning high-percentage looks inside the paint, which allows them not only to score but also make the defense collapse and open up outside shots for guards. This will be important to continue to get Gondrezick and Deans going as well as Martinez and Niblack.
The winner of the matchup will move on to the championship game to play the winner of No. 1 Baylor and No. 5 Texas on Sunday.
Fans can catch the game on Big 12 Now via ESPN+. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.