Women’s Hoops Preps For Road Swing With Home Win
MORGANTOWN, W/Va. — On the surface, West Virginia’s women’s basketball team’s 71-50 victory over Kansas wouldn’t seem to mean very much in the overall picture.
After all, the Jayhawks are just 2-6 in the Big 12, so you know that WVU was expected to win.
But things seldom are as they seem with this Mountaineer team.
Consider that they have just eight healthy players and have been playing like that for some time, which leaves little room for error or for rest.
And then there’s the thought that they are 15-5 and now 6-3 in the league, but are pushing hard to make sure they are in the NCAA Tournament.
Again you’d think that’s a given but five of their next seven games are on the road and while they do play that eighth remaining game at home, it is against Baylor, which well may be the best team in the nation and a team that beat WVU by 32 in Waco.
So this was as important a game as any they play.
“It was a huge win,” gushed guard Lucky Rudd. “Coming off winning at Texas, we did not want to slip up and we have to keep winning to get to the NCAA Tournament. With all the road games coming up, we want to go in with confidence and focusing on the main thing, which is to win.”
“It was a big win for us,” added coach Mike Carey, who felt his team was a little stale after having almost a week off. “We have to win these home games and steal a couple on the road. We can do it.”
The next two games are at Iowa State and at Texas Tech, but they are going on the road with their star player, Tynice Martin, reaching the top of her game after having some struggles early as she came back from missing last season with a foot injury.
Martin, who averages 18 points a game, had a string of games in which she scored 14, 11, 16, didn’t play, 10 and 9 points and it was getting to her.
So what happened?
“I think it’s confidence. When I started out coming back from my injury, I doubted myself. I was frustrated because I wasn’t doing what I usually do. I wasn’t as quick, I wasn’t as fast, I wasn’t as effective so one day I woke up and told myself I was tired of waking up in a negative mind set every day. I just let my mind carry me these last couple of weeks,” she said.
She certainly has impressed Kansas coach Brandon Schneider.
“She’s really good. It would be a crying shame if someone did not pick her in the first round of the WNBA draft this year and get her out of the league,” he said, knowing she will have another year of eligibility if she wants it next year.
Since then she has scored 20 or more points in six of the last eight games including leading WVU the Kansas victory with 22 points while actually getting the last four minutes of the game off after being out only six total minutes in the past six games.
“That was kind of lovely,” she said. “I don’t get that very often.”
WVU opened this game quickly, taking 25-13 lead at the quarter but Kansas fought back to get within four in the second quarter before a 3-point play by Naomi Davenport gave them some breathing room and the went toe halftime ahead 35-29.
The Mountaineers turned up the defense in the second half, held Kansas to just six fourth-quarter points and took home the victory.