MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bria Holmes’ 16 points and Asya Bussie’s fifth double-double of the season were crucial as the No. 20 West Virginia women slogged through a 67-56 win over No. 23 Iowa State on Wednesday.

Joe Sadlek/All-Pro Photography

Bria Holmes scored 13 of her 16 points in the opening half as West Virginia downed Iowa State 67-56.

West Virginia (18-3, 7-2) remained in second place in the Big 12 and improved to 3-1 against ranked opponents, including a season sweep of the Cyclones (15-5, 4-5). Yet coach Mike Carey described his Mountaineers as “the flattest I’ve seen us all year.”

Leading by 24 early in the second half, WVU grew stagnant and saw Iowa State pull to within 58-50 with six minutes left. But a basket by Cristal Caldwell made it a double-digit lead again and Brooke Hampton scored all five of her points in a two-minute span during WVU’s 9-1 run, sending Iowa State to its fifth loss in six games.

The Mountaineers shot 40 percent overall but made only 9-of-34 shots (26 percent) in the second half.

“We settled for 3s when we got the big lead—we stood around, wouldn’t reverse the ball, took bad shots,” Carey said. “We did everything we could to let them back in the game, and that’s what happened.

“I just didn’t believe we didn’t come out and play hard. These seniors need to realize they’ve got nine games left in their career, so they should never let this happen. We’ve got nine games left and we’re trying to do something special.”

One of those seniors, Bussie finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, but she sensed her team lacking energy at times.

“I thought we did come out really slow in the second half and that hurt us,” Bussie said. “I do think it’s my job to make sure the team’s ready to play every game.”

Iowa State was cold, shooting 28 percent in its second-lowest scoring output of the season. Only Hallie Christofferson’s 20-point night stood out, though the forward was 5-of-13 shooting and saddled with first-half foul trouble when WVU pulled away.

The Mountaineers used a 14-0 run over the final 3:21 of the first half to take a 42-21 lead into halftime. Holmes scored 13 in the firt half, going 5-for-5.

“We started defending, rebounding and running—that’s what we had to do,” Carey said. “Luckily we had the 10-minute stretch or we wouldn’t have won this game.”

The margin swelled to 47-23 with 17:45 remaining before Iowa State responded with its own 21-6 run.

“The defensive mistakes we made in the first half really cost us,” Cyclones coach Bill Fennelly said. “We fought back and competed, but (West Virginia) is a really good team—long, athletic and deep. they just keep running bodies at you.

“It’s team that will do a lot of damage in our league—they already have. That team will be a tough out in the NCAA tournament”

Averee Fields finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists for WVU, while Caldwell pitched in 11 points.

West Virginia outrebounded Iowa State 41-40 and managed a 26-16 edge on points in the paint.

Seanna Johnson had nine points and a game-high 12 boards for the Cyclones, who never led.

The Mountaineers visit TCU on Saturday.

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  • Woodchuck

    Good job ladies! We need the media to follow them and give them their credit.

  • jwg66

    It is nice to see our women's teams do well. Now women's BB is on a roll. There are five solid recruits lined up for next year. With a great BB facility to help recruiting, this figures to keep improving. Soccer has established a really good tradition. And the Volleyball team has started to win too. Cross country has done well too. We should all be proud of our ladies. They compete hard and have been good citizens/students too.

  • Wvu Brand

    makes me sick how many fair weather fans there are on here how many final fours Carey got under his belt? He is a good coach but the caliber of Huggins he is not Great job ladies!!!

  • Wvu Brand

    Mike Carey is the best coach we have ? I usually read ignorant comments and don't reply but anyone who thinks Bob Huggins isn't the best coach we have shouldn't be allowed to have and opinion period! And the definition of ignorant is something to the effect of cant understand something because of not being taught which is generous or such a comment

  • BH

    Congratulations ladies! The success of this years WVU women's team is practically going unnoticed. It's a shame because they are having an outstanding season.

  • WV Grad

    This Mountaineer team is for real. Roll on ladies!

  • jeff jones

    Female team is a breath of fresh air enjoy how hard they play. Mike is the best coach on campus.

  • Big Jake

    Poor Marsha will be watching our WVU ladies at home this year. Poor, poor Marsha.

  • WVU fan in Boston

    Very nice win for the ladies and the coaching staff. Setting the example for the rest of the sports at WVU!!

  • Just Passing Through

    Great win Lady's . Will be pulling for you in the Big Dance..