OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The No. 7-ranked West Virginia women scuffled with TCU, again, just as coach Mike Carey feared they might.
But behind Asya Bussie’s 18 points and a sizable rebounding margin, the Big 12 regular-season co-champs advanced to the conference tournament semifinals with a 67-59 win Saturday night.
The Mountaineers (28-3), who will face Texas on Sunday, extended their current win streak to 11 games and beat TCU for third time this season. And like the previous two meetings, this one was anybody’s game until the late stages.
That’s because 5-foot-6 guard Zahna Medley scored a season-high 32 points for the Horned Frogs (18-14), who trailed by just a point with 2:21 remaining.
“Let’s give TCU a lot of credit—they came out and played extremely hard,” Carey said. “I knew this was going to be like this. TCU is a tough matchup for us.”
Bussie grabbed 13 rebounds as WVU dominated the glass 42-27. No rebound was more bizarre than one Jess Harlee put back off a missed free throw late in the game when two TCU defenders didn’t budge from their spots along the lane.
“I saw them standing there and they weren’t ready. And I was like, I’m pretty sure this is one-and-one,” Harlee said. “But I’m not sure, so I was just going to follow it, and why not? I went in there and followed it and made the layup.”
Trailing by one with 11:42 remaining, Taylor Palmer made back-to-back 3s, followed by a three-point play from Bussie—part of a 12-2 run that put WVU up 56-47. TCU pulled within 57-56 with 2:21 left before the Mountaineers closed on a 10-3 run, making 6-of-7 mark from the foul line.
Medley made five of her first six shots and had 19 points until Harlee—an All-Big 12 defender—began guarding her. Medley made three of her next 11.
“We knew we had to get stops,” Palmer said. “Jess Harlee came in and she played tremendous on Medley and it got her to slow down a little bit, and that’s when we started to make our run.”
None of Medley’s teammates scored more than six points.
“I’ll tell you what, she was amazing tonight,” TCU coach Jeff Mittie said. “She had a look. I thought we were able to find her a lot of different ways.”
WVU grabbed 20 offensive boards and held a 20-6 edge in second-chance points.
Bussie had her eighth double-double this season, including seven offensive boards. Palmer added 11 points off the bench, including all three of WVU’s 3-pointers, while Christal Caldwell added 10 points.
All-Big 12 guard Bria Holmes and Linda Stepney each encountered foul trouble and played limited minutes in the opening half, which ended 31-all. Holmes finished 0-of-5 from 3-point range and was held to seven points. WVU made only 3-of-15 from deep.