OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – For Bria Holmes and No. 22 West Virginia, struggling against Texas is nothing new.
For the third time this season, the No. 6 Longhorns took Holmes out of her game and beat the Mountaineers 67-51 Sunday in the Big 12 women’s semifinals at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Third-seeded West Virginia (24-9) got only eight points from its all-conference top scorer, who shot 3-of-12 and finished three losses to Texas (28-3) shooting 9-of-33.
“They’re terrific defensively, and it’s just one of those things where a couple of their really go to players have sort of struggled against us the last couple of times we played them,” said Texas coach Karen Aston. “I think Bria Holmes is a phenomenal basketball player, and she has struggled in both our last two matchups.”
Second-seeded Texas, which got 12 points from Celina Rodrigo to lead four players in double figures, led by 15 at the half and started the third quarter on a 10-2 spurt.
Jessica Morton paced WVU with 13 points and dished out five assists. Teana Muldrow followed with 12 points.
The Mountaineers were held to 33.9 percent shooting from the field compared to UT’s 48.1 percent. WVU hit just 3-of-23 from 3-point range.
West Virginia’s two lowest-scoring games this year have come against Texas, with a season-low 50 points on Feb. 21 and 51 today.
“Here’s the difference. Texas drove the ball, we settled for 3s,: WVU coach Mike Carey said. “I kept telling them drive it, drive it, drive it, and, you know, we settled for 3s.”
Though it was outrebounded, 39-30, Texas converted 22 Mountaineers turnovers into 22 points.
“We didn’t handle the dribble penetration,” Carey said.. “We haven’t all year against them. They got into the paint, got our bigs in foul trouble. I thought we competed for about five minutes the second half. And we can’t win games against a team like Texas not competing for 40 minutes. Very disappointed in our effort.”
Texas advanced to face top-seeded Baylor , while WVU awaits its NCAA tourney seeding a week from Monday.
“We’ve got to compete more, if we’re going to do anything in the NCAA tournament,” Carey said. “We gotta come out and compete a lot harder.”