MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — By the merciful conclusion to No. 13 West Virginia’s 77-45 thumping of No. 12 Oklahoma State, the praise flowed loud and freely … from the Cowgirls’ bench.

“West Virginia, I think they’ve got an Elite Eight-type of team, if not higher, depending on where they get the draw,” said Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell. “I think it’s the most talented team in the Big 12.”

Playing before a crowd of 2,087, the Mountaineers (23-3, 12-2) certainly looked the part Wednesday night, building a 42-point lead while claiming the program’s largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent.

Bria Holmes scored a game-high 20 points, Christal Caldwell added 15 and Asya Bussie commanded the lanes for 12 points and 12 rebounds as WVU coasted to its sixth straight win and a season series sweep of Oklahoma State (20-5, 9-5).

The Cowgirls finished just 1-of-18 from 3-point range, managed 25-percent shooting overall and committed 17 turnovers—suffocated by one of WVU’s stingiest defensive efforts of the season.

“Defense, that’s how we get going,” Caldwell said. “It was amazing how well we played tonight.”

Donning purple warmup jerseys with the name “SELARRA” printed across the back, the Mountaineers honored team manager SeLarra Armstrong, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on Dec. 31. The senior from Philadelphia was on the bench fulfilling her typical pregame duties when she realized a surprise was afoot.

West Virginia made it a fitting tribute by holding Oklahoma State 28 points below its scoring average. The visitors missed their first seven shots, endured 11 empty possessions and trailed 14-0 before a jumper by Brittany Atkins finally ended the Cowgirls’ drought at the 13:57 mark.

“They just never could get going,” said West Virginia coach Mike Carey. “We caught them on a bad night and they caught us on a good night.”

So good that Littell used his postgame handshake to tell Carey he might have a Final Four team on his hands.

“He said that and I acted like I didn’t hear it,” Carey joked. “If you saw us on TV the other night against Oklahoma you wouldn’t think that.

“On any given night we’re a pretty good team, but I don’t get caught up in all that.”

Buoyed by Holmes’ 17 first-half points and 12 from Caldwell, WVU led 41-23 at the break. The most notable difference of the first 20 minutes was West Virginia making 6-of-13 from 3-point range and the Cowgirls going 0-of-8.

After shooting only 32 percent in the opening half, OSU tapered off to 19 percent in the second period (6-of-31).

“I thought their team played very inspired, very hungry,” Littell said. “They’re very good defensively and they take a lot of things away.”

West Virginia remained a game behind Baylor in the conference standings, thanks to the Bears beating Iowa State 89-51 on Wednesday night. The teams are scheduled to meet in Waco on March 2.

“It’s hard to account for Odyssey Sims going off for 40 points on any given night at Baylor, but I think one through 12, West Virginia’s as talented as they come (in the league),” Littell said.

The Cowgirls staged an otherwise meaningless 12-2 run in closing the prodigious blowout, preventing Bussie from pronouncing it as the complete-game, 40-minute effort WVU has been seeking.

“I would say it was about 35 minutes, because there were some times that we let up,” Bussie said.

The senior center seemed to be borrowing cautious talking points from her coach, a self-professed “downer” who curbed his team’s celebration with warnings about Saturday’s game at Kansas State.

“If we don’t win Saturday,” Bussie said, “then this win isn’t important.”

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  • Phil M.

    Most of us addressing the attendance issue are alumni hours upon hours away from Morgantown. It's up to those fans within an hours drive to attend and bolster the attendance.

    It's not the same up there and the point being that even the students are not as rabid as we were when I attended WVU.

    Plus over the last 6-8 years you all have had much better teams to support than we did when I was a student there. Get off your butts and get them in the stands and get loud from start to finish. That's what we did in my day and we never had a Final 4 team or a team that won a major bowl game.

    Go EERS !! Class of 77.

  • FFA Mountaineer

    How many of the ones complaining about attendance have actually attended a game this season? What is the average attendance for ranked teams? Remember we aren't UConn or Baylor and pack the coliseum every womens game even though we should be. I am a student and attend many of the games along with friends but weeknight games often coincide with class which makes it difficult to attend. Hope everyone on here complaining about attendance actually have been attending! Let's Go Mountaineers!

  • PeaceMonWVU

    Great game against the Cowgirls of Oklahoma State! The WVU Lady Mountaineers were on fire with a superb defensive game & lighting up the scoreboard on offense!! Way to make Mountaineers eve rywhere proud!!! Rock on WVU Ladies & Coaches!


    Amen coach, if we don't win Saturday then this game wasn't important... I wish our men's teams played like that, "We are only good as our next outing" Greatness is allusive you must always be chasing it... the moment you stop chasing it, it's gone... Way to go Lady's !!! Let's GOOOOOOOO!!!Mountaineeeers!!!!!!

    Mountaineer nation is so proud of you and your hard work lady's !!!!!!

  • Ike

    Exclamation point !!! Nice job ladies and coaches. Just keep playing them one game at a time. Just win Baby. Proud of the program

  • WVU fan in Boston

    Great Job Ladies! Keep'n track of your successes from Boston.
    And Yes, where are the Maniacs? Should be more than 2k in attendance at this history making team for WVU.

  • Aaron

    What an outstanding victory by our Lady Mountaineers, clearly a top 10 team and one of the best in the country.

    Here's to taking the Big 12 Championship and a run to the National Championship.

    It's a Great Day to be a Mountaineer!!!

  • cutty77

    More fans should go to the games,but over 2000 is not bad really.

  • jay zoom

    way to go ladies once again you made us proud. attendance sucks and the students and the general public should be ashamed. they get 5 times as many for the men and their a fair to possibly good team. but you ladies are truly champions. miss you Brooke see you ladies on the 26th.

  • Tom P.

    Only 2087 people showed up to watch the game...disappointing and embarrassing for a ranked team.

  • Phil M.

    Only a little over 2,000 fans for this team. What is going on in Morgantown. Get that Mountaineer pride going. Our attendance is pitiful.

  • Grant

    They are building quite the program. I hope the rest of the state wakes up and takes notice. Good job ladies!

  • mad hatter

    great job ladies,,, you make wvu extremely proud

    • Grant

      One of the few times we agree. Great job ladies!

  • Billy

    I waited all day to watch the game on the net. I had guessed a close one. Wow, was I ever wrong! This team keeps getting better and better. I hope they keep improving, the are fun to watch.

  • Country Roads

    Congratulations ladies proud of you.You represent our school and our state very well hope you continue through to a national championship,love you.