WVU Women Battle Hard In Baylor Loss
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In the end, Baylor was too big and too good for West Virginia.
The nation’s No. 3 team, pressed all the way by a game WVU team that had an upset on its mind and in its heart but who just couldn’t keep it up for 40 minutes, put things together in the second half and pulled out an 83-72 victory before an “I Belong Day” crowd of 5,073.
“It was a great crowd for a great cause,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “I know a lot of other schools have called us about starting a diversity day of their own.”
The score did not reflect the competitiveness of the game, a game the Mountaineers led at the half, 47-41, behind the play of Naomi Davenport and Teana Muldrow, who finished with 27 and 21 points, respectively.
“Give them credit. They are really good,” Carey said. “We played hard. We should have won.”
But while WVU seemed to make everything they threw at the basket in the first half, Baylor wasn’t missing anything itself, shooting an uncanny 83.3 percent in the second quarter when 10 of the 12 shots they threw at the rim went in.
“Our problem was at the other end of the floor,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “I thought their defense, as I knew it would be and always is, was difficult. It takes away your strengths.”
Then, in the third quarter, when Davenport picked up her third foul and had to go to the bench, Baylor gained its first lead of the afternoon and while the Mountaineers fought bravely and actually drew even again once Davenport returned, the inside game of the Bears was too strong for WVU to match.
“It was frustrating (not to be in there then),” Davenport said. “I’m not trying to blame anyone, but you have to step up.”
She mentioned that when Ashley Jones, a freshman, went in, she had to pick up her game and didn’t.
Baylor pulled down 41 rebounds to just 25 for the Mountaineers and the two inside players, All-American Kalani Brown, 6-foot-7, and Lauren Cox, 6-foot-5, combined to snare one more rebound than all the Mountaineers combined.
It wasn’t that WVU didn’t have chances to get back in it. Down five, they missed three layups and an open 3.
“At the critical part, we didn’t score with them,” Carey said.
WVU didn’t score a point over the final 4:29 after Davenport scored her final points to give her 27.
In the second half, after scoring 18 baskets in the first half, WVU managed only eight, Muldrow going 1-for-6 in the second half after hitting six of 13 first-half points.
Baylor went to a switching defense and it kept WVU from running a screen and popping open for a shot.
“We still should have been attacking,” Davenport said. “If they’re switching, they would have a 5 (center) on me. I took bad shots. I should have attacked. I could have fouled Brown out easily.”
Brown wound up with 18 points and 12 rebounds while Australian Kristy Wallace, shooting 9-for-14, scored 25 points to lead Baylor, now 19-1.