MANHATTAN, Kan. — Christal Caldwell scored 14 of her 21 points in the opening half when the No. 13 West Virginia women buried Kansas State on the way to a 61-40 victory Saturday night.
Averee Fields also scored all 10 of her points during the first half for the Mountaineers (24-3, 13-2), who won their seventh straight game and improved to 7-1 on the road in Big 12 action.
Ashlynn Knoll finished with 13 points for Kansas State (10-15, 4-10), which led 6-0 early before West Virginia used runs of 15-2 and 13-0 to seize command. K-State was held without a field goal for a stretch of 9:17 and trailed 34-19 at halftime.
“There is no question we just lined up against one of the best teams in America,” said K-State coach Deb Patterson. “It is a really challenging matchup not just for us, but for anyone in this league.”
West Virginia shot 43 percent from the floor while holding Kansas State to 27 percent. Taylor Palmer added 10 points and seven rebounds, while Asya Bussie produced 10 points and six boards as the Mountaineers dominated the boards 42-28.
Three days after blowing out No. 12 Oklahoma State 77-45 in Morgantown, West Virginia showed enough focus and intensity to avoid a letdown.
“This is a game that you really have to worry about coming off of a big win at home,” said WVU coach Mike Carey, whose team remained a game behind Baylor in the Big 12 title chase. “We are just glad to get a win and get out of here.”
K-State, which also endured 10 minutes without a second-half field goal, committed 15 turnovers that led to 17 points for West Virginia.
“It was really hard to get passes around them … especially for me, I am 5-foot-nothing, and I can barely see around half of them,” said K-State guard Kindred Wesemann, who scored 11 points on 2-of-7 shooting. “Just getting in there and being as long as they are, it is really hard to score on them.”
WVU has held 18 opponents under 60 points this season. K-State’s Leticia Romero, who averaged 14.2 points entering the game, was held to eight points while going 3-of-11 from the floor. She also committed seven turnovers.
“We did not shoot the ball as well as you need to, but you have to understand that much of that is the long-term pressure and stress that West Virginia can put on you because they are such a great basketball team,” Patterson said. “Just their physicality and the timeliness of it, you can just tell it is a very experienced and mature basketball team that knows how to win.”
Next up for the Mountaineers: A home date Wednesday night against Texas Tech.