The No. 6 ranked Lady Bears crawled its way past the West Virginia Mountaineers last night at the Ferrell Center winning the conference game 69-64. The win also allowed the Bears to stay undefeated at home this season.
The Bears (17-1. 4-1 Big 12) came out from the gates pushing the ball down the court, however the Mountaineers were able to keep up. While opening up the court for easy shots, the Bears struggled to get the ball in the net, but were still able to take a 21-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Mountaineers (14-4, 3-2 Big 12) struck back, taking the momentum from the Bears in the second. The Mountaineers bench made the difference for them in the first half, outscoring the Bears 22-17.
Head coach Kim Mulkey knew the Mountaineers were going to be a tough test.
“No one in the league is going to guard you better than Mike Carey’s team,” Mulkey said. “That’s big girl basketball.”
6-foot-3 freshman center Kalani Brown came up big for the Bears in the second coming up with an and-one while going two for two from the foul line. Brown kept the Bears close, making 10 points in just 9 minutes of play, which allowed the Bears to only trail by 1 going into the half, 34-35.
Although the Mountaineers never backed down, it was Junior guard Alexis Jones that helped the Bears pull away in the third. In the third, Jones went three-for-three from behind the arch, scoring 12 points in just 5 minutes of play.
“I was knocking down shots this game, tried to stay focused and get these wins like we are supposed to,” Jones said.
With the crowd on their feet and the momentum turning back their way, the Bears finished the third quarter shooting 100 percent from the three-point range and back on top, 55-51.
“I feel like I’m getting more comfortable and getting my feel back for the game,” Jones said. “I am really focused right now, the whole team is.”
With the Bears up one to start the fourth quarter, 56-55, Brown continued to dominate from the line, draining both free throws and putting the Bears back up by three.
The Mountaineers tied the game at 58 with just under four minutes left in the game and with just over three minutes remaining the Mountaineers drained a long two to go up, 58-60.
However, the Bears had too much on the line to give up. They tied the game at 60 and never looked back.
With the Mountaineer senior guard Jessica Morton fouling out, Cave capitalized on an and-one to put the Bears back up by three.
A three by sophomore guard Kristy Wallace and two big free throws by Jones sealed the deal for the Bears.
“She (Jones) and Kristy both in the last two games have played really solid basketball games,” Mulkey said.
The Bears survived a nail-biter, taking the win, 69-64.
“Wallace hit two big shots. She got a rebound late off-balance. Those things help your team grow and win basketball games.”
“We held them to no threes in the second half,” Mulkey said. “I thought our bench was outstanding and both teams didn’t turn the ball over much.”
The Bears next text comes on the road 2:30 p.m. Saturday against their in state rivals, the Texas Longhorns.