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Big rally precedes big drama in Norman: WVU women escape with 76-75 win

Foul-plagued West Virginia went deep into its bench on Thursday night, plying little-used guard Darius Faulk in a 76-75 win over Oklahoma.


NORMAN, Okla. — Climbing out of a 14-point second-half against Oklahoma wasn’t even the hardest part for the No. 13 West Virginia women.

Surviving the final 1.6 seconds was.

The Mountaineers prevailed 76-75 at the Lloyd Noble Center on Thursday, winning their fourth straight overall and sweeping the season series from the Big 12 preseason-favorite Sooners.

A crazy finish packed a ton of drama.

After a tipped courtlong pass led to Sooners guard T’ona Edwards being fouled by Taylor Palmer with 0.3 seconds left, Edwards made the first free throw but missed the second attempt that would have tied the game. Still, Oklahoma had a final chance at the game-winner when Sharane Campbell grabbed the offensive rebound and missed a contested putback at the buzzer.

Bria Holmes scored 19 points for West Virginia (21-3, 10-2) and Averee Fields added 12, including the go-ahead basket with 13 seconds left.

“Give Oklahoma credit: They were ready to play the first half and we weren’t,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “They had all the hustle points, all the points in the paint and all the points on the break. So they out-hustled us big time. I didn’t have our girls ready to play.”

Trailing 48-34 with 17:52 left, the Mountaineers recovered to draw even at 71-all on a free throw by Asya Bussie, who scored all 10 of her points in the second half. Yet Bussie fouled out—as did Oklahoma’s inside tandem of Nicole Griffin and Giyora Carter—leaving the 6-foot-1 Fields to post up the 5-7 Aaryn Ellenberg on the possession that put WVU ahead 75-74.

Oklahoma countered with Morgan Hook’s driving layup, which Jess Harlee blocked and rebounded before passing off to Palmer who was fouled with 1.6 seconds. Palmer missed the front end, but made the final attempt for a two-point lead.

WVU enjoyed its second-best performance from the foul line this season, making 24-of-27. Oklahoma made only 26-for-38, including the crucial miss by Edwards at the end.

“It is easy to go back to those free throws,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said, “and the last kid standing at the line always feels the worst, but there were many before that and there were some in the first half. In a one-point game there are a million things that you could point to that, had you done differently, the outcome would have been different.”

A total of 56 fouls were called in the game, including 30 against WVU, which played 10 players.

“Both teams were in foul trouble the whole game and nobody could really get into a rhythm,” Carey said. “Both teams battled hard and we fought back—very easily could have folded. Any time you can come out with a win, not really play well and didn’t get in a rhythm—you’ll take it.”

The Mountaineers shot 42.9 percent from the field, while the Sooners (15-10, 6-6) managed only nine second-half field goals and shot 38.3 percent for the game.

Bussie and Fields grabbed eight rebounds each, helping WVU to a 40-36 advantage.

The Sooners were led in scoring by Ellenberg’s 18 points, while Griffin had 13 points and nine boards and Carter scored 12.

The Mountaineers return home for a Sunday matchup against TCU.

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