The West Virginia women’s basketball team earned themselves a spot back in the win column Wednesday night, knocking off Texas Tech, 68-65.
The Mountaineers (13-5, 4-3 Big 12) began the night on a thunderous 13-2 run through the opening three minutes behind a trio of three pointers delivered from junior guard Tynice Martin, senior guard Naomi Davenport and freshman guard Madisen Smith.
Following a Texas Tech timeout, the Red Raiders (10-8, 1-6) chipped even more into the effort with six points of their own through the next three minutes. The six-point string was capped by a junior forward Brittany Brewer and sophomore guard Angel Hayden pair of layups to narrow the margin to 13-8.
Texas Tech narrowed that margin even slimmer to three points by the end of the first quarter following a junior center Erin Degrate layup to tighten the West Virginia lead to 15-12.
The second quarter saw back and forth scoring as the Red Raiders cut their deficit to one point by the fifth minute, 20-19. Mountaineer freshman forward Kari Niblack sparked the second quarter attack dropping in a pair of jumpers through the first five minutes.
Following Texas Tech’s string of points to narrow the lead, West Virginia went on an 11-2 run through three minutes to extend the Mountaineer lead to 29-21 with two minutes remaining before halftime.
At halftime, the Red Raiders narrowed their margin yet again to stay in the ballgame at 30-26. Brewer nailed a three pointer and Degrate dribbled in for another layup to end the half.
Less than a minute into the second half, Texas Tech took their first lead of the night with a three pointer off the fingers of freshman guard Chrislyn Carr to make the lead 31-30.
The remainder of the quarter saw back and forth lead changes and tied scores. In the seventh minute, Rudd nailed a three pointer to tie the score at 33-33. Then Niblack and Davenport each knocked down a jumper apiece to take a two-point lead with three minutes remaining in the quarter, 40-37.
The Mountaineers held on to their slim 44-41 lead heading into the fourth quarter credited to a jumper from Martin and a dribble in layup from Davenport in the final two minutes of the third quarter.
Texas Tech wasted no time getting on the board in the final quarter as Carr nailed a three pointer in the first minute to knot the score at 44-44. Nearly four minutes later Texas Tech took their greatest lead of the night, 50-46.
“Give them credit, they went right in the paint on us and did a nice job, they’re much improved and she does a great job with them and give them a lot of credit, I just thought we didn’t have any energy,” explained WVU head coach Mike Carey.
The Mountaineers didn’t panic however as Rudd drained a pair of free throws and Martin knocked down a three pointer to take a 51-50 lead with four minutes remaining.
With three tied scores over the next three minutes, perhaps the biggest pair of shots came off the fingers of Davenport and Martin as each nailed a three pointer of their own within the final two and a half minutes to take the lead at 59-56.
“Give our girls credit at the end, we hit a couple big three’s and got a couple big rebounds and hit some foul shots down the stretch,” said Carey.
Behind the pair of three-point knock downs, West Virginia coasted their way to a 68-65 victory after a few free throw trips for the Mountaineers as well as the Red Raiders.
The Mountaineers will host Kansas State on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Coliseum next before hitting the road to take on Texas on Jan. 28 at 8 p.m.