DALLAS — The West Virginia women blew a 22-point lead and were bounced from the Big 12 tournament with a 65-64 loss when Oklahoma’s Sharane Campbell made the go-ahead free throw 5.5 seconds left.
The Mountaineers (17-13) await their postseason fate with the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, March 18, while the Sooners (22-9) advanced into the tournament semifinals.
With the score tied at 64, WVU’s Averee Fields was called for an offensive foul with 26 seconds remining. That set up the Sooners’ final possession, on which Campbell was fouled going up for a layup and hit the second of her free-throw attempts.
WVU point guard Linda Stepney hustled the ball upcourt and found Bria Holmes for a 7-footer, but the final-second jumpshot was off the mark.
Oklahoma rallied with a 26-5 run to take the lead at 60-58 with 5:09 remaining. WVU shot 2-of-11 during the stretch, committing seven fouls and four turnovers.
“Needless to say it was a tale of two halves,” said West Virginia coach Mike Carey. “First half, we were scoring at will and they couldn’t score, and second half it was the other way around. Give Oklahoma credit. They came out and played harder than we did the second half. We weren’t as aggressive offensively or defensively the second half, as we were the first half.
The Mountaineers led 44-25 at halftime thanks to eight 3-pointers. But after shooting 44.1 percent in the first 20 minutes, WVU was held to 21 percent in the second half.
WVU wasted a 22-point, 11-rebound performance by Christal Caldwell, her first double-double of the season. She hit all five of her 3-pointers in the first half. Taylor Palmer was the other WVU player in double figure with 11 points, while Crystal Leary came off the bench to chip in eight points and six boards.
Oklahoma earned an edge at the foul line, making 22-of-33 free throws compared to WVU’s 10-of-16.
Nicole Griffin had 16 points and Campbell 15 points for the Sooners. Joanna McFarland led OU with 13 boards, while Morgan Hook handed out nine assists.