Bussie keys WVU women past TCU for fifth straight win

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Asya Bussie produced 16 points and eight rebounds as the No. 13 West Virginia women defeated TCU 61-57 on Sunday in front of 6,161 at the WVU Coliseum, the 10th-largest crowd in the program’s history.

Christal Caldwell added 14 points and three steals, while Bria Holmes chipped in 13 points for the Mountaineers (22-3, 11-2), who won their fifth straight game and remained one game behind Baylor in the Big 12 title chase.

Zahna Medley recorded a game-leading 23 points, including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers for TCU (14-11, 5-8).

Holmes had nine points in first six minutes of the second half to give WVU a 40-34 advantage, but TCU used an 8-2 run to tie the game at 42 with 10 minutes left. The game was tied twice from that point, and the Horned Frogs were within one point twice in the final 2:29, but Bussie and Jess Harlee combined for 3-of-4 final free-throw attempts to seal the win.

“I think it was more of an energy thing in the second half,” coach Mike Carey said. “We got back into the game with defense, getting some steals and getting some run-outs. I thought in the second half, we executed a little better on offense. I told the team after the game that we have to quit doing this. We have to come out ready to play for 40 minutes.”

The Mountaineers made only two of their first 16 shots and trailed 19-6. But despite finishing the opening half shooting only 29 percent, the Mountaineers fought back behind a 21-9 run to trail only 28-27 at halftime.

“We get ourselves into these deep holes and we end up having to fight and come back every game,” Bussie said. “That’s not something we can keep doing. We can’t get into these deep holes—that’s not what top-10 teams do, so I think we still have a lot to prove.”

TCU shot 39 percent from the field, while WVU shot 36.2 percent. The Mountaineers went 15-of-22 at the foul line compared to 3-of-3 for TCU.

“It was a hard-fought game. We came out slow and weren’t scoring, and we were letting them score. But about midway through the first half, we started playing a little bit and buckling down on defense,” Carey said. “In the second half, I thought we came out with a lot more energy.”

WVU forced 14 turnovers with nine steals, earning 20 points off TCU giveaways. The Mountaineers limited their own turnovers to nine.

“Their defensive pressure kind of got to us at times,” said TCU coach Jeff Mittie. “But we wanted the game to get down to the last four minutes and we got that, but they just made a few more plays than we did.

“I liked our kids’ effort. I don’t have any qualms with our effort. I thought we came in and fought like crazy and, for the most, got this game to where I felt it was a winnable game.”

The Mountaineers continue play in the WVU Coliseum on Wednesday as they take on No. 12 Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. WVU won the first meeting 71-67 in Stillwater on Jan. 4.

“We disappointed them on their home floor and came back and beat them in a tough situation,” Caldwell said. “So they’re going to come in here hungry.”

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