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Mountaineers women rally past Kansas in Big 12 opener

LAWRENCE, Kan. — West Virginia women’s basketball team used a 16-0 run, holding Kansas scoreless for more than eight minutes late in the game, to win their Big 12 Conference opener 65-55 Thursday night.

“Any win in the Big 12 on the road is a big win,” said WVU coach Mike Carey. “We were not hitting shots, but we stuck in there.”

Asya Bussie had 13 points and 10 rebounds—her 11th career double-double—for the Mountaineers (12-1, 1-0 Big 12), while Caldwell finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.

Kansas got a game-high 15 points from a Natalie Knight, including a 3 that put the Jayhawks up 46-41 with 11:45 remaining.

“When they went up five points, I knew we needed to get some stops,” Carey said. “Get some stops and hit a couple shots—and we were able to do that.”

Four consecutive points from Linda Stepney, followed by a go-ahead bucket from Caldwell put WVU back in control and sparked a run that gave the Mountaineers a 57-46 edge with 3:45 left.

“Linda Stepney was in foul trouble in the first half, but came in and was able to make some things happen the second half,” Carey said.

The Mountaineers overcame 34.9 percent shooting thanks to 23 offensive rebounds. while the Jayhawks (7-6, 0-1 Big 12) made 42 percent from the field. WVU capitalized on its 47-28 rebounding edge with 20 second-chance points.

“We pounded them on the offensive boards because we didn’t shoot well,” Carey said. “We’ve been shooting better, but we didn’t shoot well and when you’re not shooting well, you have to defend, you have to rebound and get some second shots.”

West Virginia went 17-of-23 from the free-throw line, while Kansas was only 7-of-9.

Taylor Palmer scored 11 points off the bench while Averee Fields added nine points, seven rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes for WVU. Stepney finished with seven points, four rebounds and three assists in 12 minutes.

The Jayhawks’ Asia Boyd finished with 12 points and Chelsea Gardner with 10.

The Mountaineers continue Big 12 road play at No. 11 Oklahoma State on Saturday.

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