MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Behind a career-best 31 points from Bria Holmes, the No. 17 West Virginia women’s basketball team crushed Kansas State 84-44 on Saturday, a blowout that still featured too much rust for coach Mike Carey’s liking.
West Virginia led only by a basket after 13 minutes but Holmes sank five 3s on her way to 19 first-half points to help build a 43-24 lead.
“We were fortunate that Bria Holmes got hot the last eight minutes of the first half, but I thought overall we played hard,” Carey said. “In the beginning, you could tell that we had not played in a week. That is why it is great that we have a deep bench and people can come in.”
The Mountaineers (20-3, 9-2) shot a season-high 56.6 percent from the field and recorded 11-of-19 from 3-point range. West Virginia limited K-State (9-13, 3-8) to a season-low 26.7 percent from the field.
Holmes made 10-of-14 from the field, 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, pulled down six rebounds, grabbed two steals and had a block in 28 minutes. Christal Caldwell added 17 points and five rebounds, while Taylor Palmer contributed 13 points.
Late in the first half, Palmer hit a 3 as the shot clock expired to record her 1,000th career point, becoming the 30th player in WVU women’s history to reach the mark.
“I was very happy for her,” Carey said. “Thank God she hit her first shot so she could relax a little bit. Taylor (Palmer) has done a great job for us all four years and has done a great job accepting her role this year off the bench.
“Quite frankly, in her freshman year, I did not know who she was going to guard. Now, she can guard any of them, I do not care how quick they are. She knows what we want and what angles to take. She has gotten better every year and that is what we need off the bench.”
Averee Fields elped WVU to a 38-32 rebounding advantage with seven boards and Linda Stepney dished out seven assists.