WVU Women Share Big 12 Title
MORGANTOWN – Bria Holmes scored 16 points to lead No. 7 West Virginia to a 67-60 victory against Kansas on Tuesday night for a share of the Big 12 women’s championship.
The title for West Virginia (27-3 overall, 16-2 Big 12) is its first since 1991-92 when it was in the Atlantic 10.
No. 9 Baylor defeated Iowa State 70-54 later Tuesday for a piece of its fourth consecutive conference title. Based on a tiebreaker, Baylor earned the top seed for the league tournament and West Virginia gets the second seed. Both will have first-round byes and begin tournament play Saturday in Oklahoma City.
Asya Bussie and Crystal Caldwell added 14 points apiece for the Mountaineers, who are riding a 10-game winning streak.
West Virginia’s 27 regular-season victories broke the school record of 26 set in 2009-10.
CeCe Harper scored 19 points and Natalie Knight added 17 for Kansas (12-18, 5-13).
The Jayhawks did their best to spoil West Virginia’s party but couldn’t overcome a 13-point deficit in the second half. Kansas lost its fifth straight game.
Afterward, West Virginia’s players gathered arm-in-arm and joined fans in singing John Denver’s “Country Roads,” the school’s unofficial anthem. A trophy presentation was held afterward and the players took turns cutting down the nets.
Kansas took its only lead of the second half, 36-34, on a drive by Bunny Williams with 17:10 left.
Bussie then scored six points during a 14-4 run, and she later made a free throw to give the Mountaineers their largest lead, 62-49, with 3:54 remaining.
Kansas reeled off six straight points, with Natalie Knight’s 3-pointer pulling the Jayhawks within 63-58 with 1:59 left.
But Kansas ran out of chances. Bussie ripped a rebound from Harper underneath the West Virginia basket, and Holmes eventually made a layup with 1:19 remaining to push the lead to seven.
West Virginia put itself in position for the crown after beating Baylor 71-69 Sunday to move into a first-place tie.
Before tipoff, West Virginia honored Bussie, Caldwell and three other seniors playing in their final home game, while highlights of the Baylor win, including Averee Fields’ go-ahead layup with 12 seconds left, were shown on the video board.
All five seniors started, although Brooke Hampton, who is recovering from a knee injury, was taken out of the game right after the opening tip.
West Virginia forced 17 turnovers and outrebounded Kansas 45-39.