OKLAHOMA CITY. Okla. — Tynice Martin scored 29 points, twice giving West Virginia a fourth-quarter lead, and Chania Ray sank two clutch free throws with six seconds left as the Mountaineers toppled No. 12-ranked and second-seeded Texas 62-59 in the semifinals of the Big 12 women’s tournament on Sunday.
The sixth-seeded Mountaineers (22-10) followed Saturday’s blowout upset of No. 19 Oklahoma by pulling off another stunner, knocking off a Longhorns team that swept both regular-season meetings by double digits.
“Give our players a lot of credit. They’re playing a lot of minutes,” said WVU coach Mike Carey. “That last five minutes we kept talking about you’ve got to have heart. Who wants it more? Who wants it more?”
Brooke McCarty led Texas (23-8) with 13 points but missed a desperation 3-point try. Ariel Atkins added 12 for the Longhorns, who were expected to rematch with No. 2-ranked Baylor (30-2) in Monday’s championship.
Instead, West Virginia will make its first appearance in the tournament final since 2014.
The Mountaineers no longer need the automatic berth, after building their at-large resume with back-to-back wins over ranked teams.
“We felt we had to win a game or maybe two, but we didn’t know,” Carey said. “You never know.”
Martin made 10-of-21 shots, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range, and her conventional 3-point play with 4:45 left put West Virginia ahead for good, 53-51.
“When we came down here our goal was to win the championship, so we had to take that game by game,” Martin said. “And I feel like the energy that we brought to the tournament it led us to today.”
Teana Muldrow nailed a 3-pointer to push the lead to 56-52 and Martin followed with another jumper.
Martin sank two free throws to make the lead 60-56 with 14 seconds left before McCarty’s 3 made it a one-point game with nine seconds remaining.
Ray’s clinching free throws gave her 10 points. Muldrow also scored 10 while grabbing eight rebounds.
Katrina Pardee added 13 points on 3-of-3 shooting from deep for WVU, which committed only 12 turnovers.
Lanay Montgomery was held scoreless for the Mountaineers but grabbed six rebounds and blocked five shots.
“As disappointed as I am, I don’t want to discredit how hungry West Virginia played tonight,” said Texas coach Karen Aston. “They, I thought, played incredibly well yesterday. Looked like a team that probably was on the bubble and was really, really hungry to prove themselves in a lot of ways. They played a lot tougher than we did today.”