Muldrow Has Record Day, WVU Moves Into WNIT Semis
It had been a long year for Teana Muldrow, a new and different experience, putting West Virginia’s women’s basketball team on her shoulders and carrying them.
Normally, no matter where she played, she was a member of the supporting cast and it was supposed to be that way this year, too, with Tynice Martin in the starring role.
“I always called myself the ‘Secret Sauce’, the X factor,” she admitted. “This year the focus was on me. it was pretty hard.”
It seemed to be wearing her down. Her last game prior to Sunday’s 76-62 victory over St. John’s to advance to the Final Four of the WNIT at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Coliseum against Virginia Tech, she scored only nine points and made only three field goals.
In three of her last four games she had not scored more than 12 points after averaging 20 points a game through much of the season.
“I made up my mind I would be aggressive today,” she admitted.
Aggressive? She was down right intimidating, scoring a career-high 33 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field while making 14 of 15 free throws.
The 33 points were a school record in WNIT play, breaking the mark of 31 set by Meg Bulger against Kentucky in 2005.
“I didn’t know that,” Muldrow admitted when informed after the game. “Meg was a good player. It’s an honor.”
It became obvious right from the start that Carey wanted to get Muldrow involved on the offensive end right away, running the first play for her that resulted in a layup.
“They were switching 1 through 5,” Carey explained. “That left her with a mismatch, a guard on her.”
And each time they did that, WVU took advantage and went to Muldrow.
After a while, St. John’s only approach was to try and get rough with Muldrow. The results showed that didn’t work either.
“That’s pretty normal,” Muldrow said. “I’ve taken a lot of hard hits this year.”
By the time the first quarter came to an end with WVU ahead, 18-17, Muldrow had three baskets, which matched her total against James Madison in her last game.
St. John’s had a hot hand in that quarter, shooting 46.7 percent, which one would take as good news were it not for the fact that they trailed by a point and knew that they couldn’t continue shooting at that pace.
And they didn’t.
In fact, WVU put the clamps down, holding them to just 11 second-quarter points while WVU was scoring 20 to take a 10-point advantage into halftime.
Pardee found the range from 3-point range in the second quarter, canning a couple, and Teresa Ekhelar came off the bench and made her 6-foot-5 presence felt with three rebounds and two blocked shots.
The Mountaineers paid attention to whatever Carey offered at halftime because they came out scorching, hitting three of their first five shots, one from 3-point range, to stretch the lead to 47-31 as they forced St. John’s into a timeout.
By that time it was probably too late but Muldrow saw to it than any comeback ideas the Johnnies had were wasted as she scored 14 third-quarter points, giving her 24 for the game on 8-of-10 shooting from the field.
Now the only suspense that was left as WVU took a 60-43 lead into the final quarter was by how much they would win and how may points Muldrow would finish with.
Or so it seemed, but WVU seemed to lose a little interest and St. John’s turned up the defensive pressure and before three and a half minutes were gone in the fourth quarter they had narrowed the lead to 11.
Carey, at this point, decided to get his team’s interest with an animated timeout in which he spent spent a lot more time on attitude adjustment than basketball strategy.
Whatever he said worked, for they went back to Muldrow and she did the rest, scoring five straight points to put the lead safely away as she cruised to that new career high in points.
“Did she ever come out?” Carey asked, glancing at the box scores. “Oh, yeah, the last two minutes. “Guess she just has to suck it up. What would she be saving it for, next year?”