WVU Women Lose Lead, Bounced From WNIT
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — This is one of those good news, bad news stories.
The good news is that West Virginia’s star women’s basketball player, Tynice Martin, is coming back for her fifth year next year.
The bad news is that next year starts immediately, because the Mountaineers blew an 18-point lead and lost to Northwestern, 56-54, in the third round of the WNIT Wednesday night at the Coliseum.
The Mountaineers led for most of the game, right up until the Wildcats’ star Lindsey Pulliam scored with 37 seconds to put NU in front.
But it wasn’t really that basket, or even when WVU allowed Northwestern to steal an inbounds pass under their own basket with 7.7 seconds to play and run out the clock that beat the Mountaineers.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” is the way Martin put it, an odd choice of words for someone who missed last year with a foot injury and who never really was fully the same this year.
But in the fourth quarter, WVU managed to make only two baskets in 12 attempts to let Northwestern come back.
“They heated us up a little bit and some of us didn’t want the heat,” said WVU coach Mike Carey, who saw a season that he said felt like it was 10 months long to come to an end. “We did what we could do to lose that game down the stretch.”
Or was it what Northwestern did, which also came back from 16 down against Toledo.
“We seem to tease the devil in this tournament,” said Joe McKeown, the Northwestern coach, a veteran of many women’s college wars, so much so that he recalled coming here and playing against a WVU coach by Kittie Blakemore, who founded the program.
And so it ended for WVU, a season that was anything but fun as Carey, who for most of the year due to suspensions and injuries had only eight or nine available bodies. That’s something he hopes to remedy next year, and the return of Martin will help that greatly.
It was an unexpected announcement from her in the post-game media session as many expected she would join seniors Namoi Davenport and Katrina Pardee in leaving the program.
Martin, however, said this was not something that surprised her.
“It was not weighing heavily on my mind,” she revealed. “I made the decision months ago. When we got to the NIT [and were passed over by the NCAA] I thought this is definitely not how I want to go out.”
Martin could have gone to the professional basketball, but she and Carey spoke and he explained to her that she would benefit from working on her game.
“I knew what had to be done. Losing that year on the court, you could of tell that it set me back. I didn’t get better my sophomore year. Next year will be a different story.”
Martin had a tough night, hitting just six of 21 shots and four of 11 from 3-point range to finish with 17 points. Martin will go into next season with 1,588 points, 11th all-time at the school. She needs 526 points next year to become the school’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing Cathy Parson.
“I want to go out one of the best all-time players,” she said.
Pardee scored only three points to finish with 1,141 points while Davenport scored 13 in the game, but only three in the second half, and finished her two-year career at WVU with 1,114 points.
West Virginia finishes the season with a 22-11 record.