After securing the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, the West Virginia women’s basketball team had to wait until Thursday night to find out that they will play the Kansas State Wildcats in the quarterfinal round on Friday night.
“It feels good,” WVU head coach Mike Carey said. “I give all the credit to the players, you know, we’ve had people leave the program because they weren’t playing, we’ve had injuries, we’ve had people play out-of-position.”
“We’ve not had a lot of advantages going down the stretch here but give these players a lot of credit because they’ve hung in there,” Carey added.
The Mountaineers (19-5, 13-5 Big 12) will take on the No. 10 seed Kansas State Wildcats (9-17, 3-15 Big 12) who defeated Texas Tech in the first round of the tournament on Thursday night. Kansas State won, 75-65.
Two Wildcats the Mountaineers need to watch out for are Ayoka Lee and Christianna Carr. Both Lee and Carr are the only Kansas State players that average double figures. Lee averages 19.5 points per game, while Carr 15.3 points.
Against Texas Tech, Lee scored 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting, while blocking seven shots by the Red Raiders. Carr — a junior guard — scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Carr made 3-three-pointers in the win.
WVU and KSU have played each other twice this season, with West Virginia prevailing in both matchups. In the first game between the two, on Jan. 20, the Mountaineers had to pull off a miracle to defeat the Wildcats, going on a 21-0 run in the final three minutes of the game. WVU trailed by 12 points and won by nine.
The two met again in Manhattan, Kansas, to make up a postponed game. The Mountaineers were able to pull away late, winning 72-64. Now, both teams will face off for a third time this season in the conference tournament.
The Mountaineers will be without starting guard Madisen Smith in the Big 12 Tournament, causing Carey to have to get creative with the rotations. Luckily, for Carey, he already has had some practice figuring out who can play where during this time of being short-handed.
“I had point guards that have never played the one, I had a four that never played the four, had a five never played the five,” Carey said after the win. “Everybody’s out-of-position but you know what? This is what this team is made of.”
West Virginia and Kansas State will be the third game of the day, scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. The game will be on ESPN+.