The No. 3 Lady Bears basketball team extended its win streak to 10 and hopes for a Big 12 title alive, while the No. 15 men’s basketball team lost in a hard-fought battle on the road to No. 14 West Virginia.
The Bears (17-6, 6-4) looked to regroup on the road after losing a heartbreaker to Texas at home the last week, but fell short to the Mountaineers on the road, 80-69.
“I thought West Virginia really shot the ball well. Got to credit them for executing on the offensive end. We didn’t do as good as a job defensively as we have in the past,” said each coach Scott Drew.
“I was pleased with how we took care of the basketball, pleased how we rebounded but West Virginia did a good job not letting us score much and definitely not let us get a lot of transition buckets, we didn’t get enough stops.”
With the lead going back and forth early on, it appeared that it would be a fight to the end.
With senior forward Rico Gathers struggling to connect, the Bears were unable to find that spark from him.
Gathers would finish the game with five points and seven rebounds, which were drastically different stats compared to his 16 points and 12 rebounds per game.
However, things changed when the Bears went one for ten to start the second half, which allowed the Mountaineers to extend their lead to 15.
“On struggling at the start of the second half I think the ten turnovers, you can live with that, the ten assists is something in the past,” Drew said. “We did a better job sharing against their pressure and we didn’t do as good of a job as we needed to do.”
The Mountaineers (19-4, 8-2) never backed down, making the Bears fight for every possession.
With the Bears struggling and Mountaineers junior forward Devin Williams dominating inside with 16 points and seven rebounds, the Bears were never able to gain full momentum even though their bench did bring a spark to the Bears.
“I was looking for some offense and defense. I think our bench really played well and did a great job getting us back in the game. I think our seniors were 8-37 in this game and you are not going to win many games,” Drew said.
With the bench coming up big for the Bears, they were able to close the gap, but it was too late. The Mountaineers would take the game, 80-69.
“They were outstanding our last game we played and our bench didn’t give us much, so we have to get everyone on the same page. We have to defend when we are not scoring well enough, but you are not going to win many games in the Big 12 going 8-37.”
The Bears will be back in action 7:15 p.m. Wednesday against Kansas State, where the look to snap a 2-game losing streak.
The Lady Bears cruised past Kansas Saturday at the Ferrell Center, 81-59, to extend their win streak to 10.
“We won, that’s all that matters,” said head coach Kim Mulkey. “Overall, if I said there were two areas we didn’t do a good job in we gave up way too many threes and I thought we turned the ball over unnecessarily. It’s a win and you expect that as a coach when you’re subbing the way I was subbing today.”
The Bears (23-1, 10-1) were coming off a solid win against Kansas State, 87-52. With their confidence built up, the Bears although not playing at their peak were able to cruise past the Jayhawks, 81-49.
The Jayhawks (5-18, 0-12) have struggled in conference play this season, and continued with that streak against the Bears.
With the Bears leading from the start, there was no looking back.
The Bears came out attacking the paint, taking advantage of their size down low and on the perimeter.
With junior guard Alexis Prince appearing to be back in old form, the Bears were given life when they appeared to be playing down to their opponents level. In Prince’s 24 minutes action, she scored 14 points and recorded two steals.
“It was big for my confidence. It showed me that I could still play and get better every game,” Prince said.“I feel good. I’m taking it day-by-day and just each practice I keep getting better and seeing if I can get more reps.”
Although only averaging 13 minutes of play on the season, freshman post Kalani Brown came up big for the Bears once again in the paint.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is to finish. Lately in practice we have been working on gathering ourselves when we catch the ball and finishing through contact.”
“I’m definitely a little bit more comfortable being on the floor. We’re gelling as a team and we still have stuff to learn and stuff to work out, but I think just like coach said, we get better every game and I’ll just keep working hard.”
With the Lady Bears getting more in sync as a team, a run for the Big 12 title is in sight.
The Lady Bears will continue their quest on the road 7 p.m. Wednesday against Texas Christian University.