West Virginia women’s basketball team beats Texas Tech after topsy-turvy 2nd half

MORGANTOWN — Tynice Martin led all scorers with 23 points as the West Virginia women’s basketball team topped Texas Tech 68-65 on Wednesday at the Coliseum.

Martin scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Mountaineers (13-5, 4-3) come away with the back-and-forth win. The Atlanta native also finished with three rebounds and two assists.

Junior guard Lucky Rudd added 14 points and five rebounds for WVU, while senior guard/forward Naomi Davenport chipped in with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Wednesday’s game featured 12 lead changes and 10 ties.

“We were very fortunate to pull that out,” coach Mike Carey said. “We had no energy. We had two or three girls, same as the men did, with the flu and not feeling well. We just didn’t have any energy. Give them credit. They went right into the paint on us, and they did a nice job. They’re much improved, and she (coach Marlene Stollings) does a great job with them. Give them a lot of credit.”

Martin wasted no time getting on the board early, swishing a 3-pointer just 22 seconds into the contest for the game’s first points. From there, Davenport matched the make from beyond the arc, giving WVU an early 8-2 lead, before freshman guard Madisen Smith drained a shot from downtown to make it 13-2.

WVU, which made five of its first seven shots from the field, scored 10 in a row at one point, forcing the Lady Raiders into an early timeout.

However, Texas Tech (10-8, 1-6) recovered, scoring 10 of the first period’s final 12 points. Still, the Mountaineers led, 15-12, after 10 minutes.

In the second period, Tech was able to tie the game at 17 with 7:59 to go before halftime. Then, freshman Kari Niblack’s layup and sophomore guard Nia Staples’ mid-range make gave the Mountaineers a 22-19 lead at the 5:14 mark. Niblack finished with nine points and eight rebounds off the bench.

After Tech took an early second-half lead, Rudd drilled a 3 from the corner, just in front of the WVU bench, before Davenport scored to give the Mountaineers a 39-37 lead with 4:31 to go in the period.

Martin dribbled to the elbow and made a jumper, putting West Virginia back up one, while Davenport scored on a layup to give the Mountaineers a three-point lead at 44-41 heading into the fourth.

The Lady Raiders scored nine of the first 11 points in the final frame, taking a 50-36 lead with 5:17 to go. But a pair of Rudd free throws and a 3 by Martin pushed WVU back in front at 51-50 with 4:57 to play.

A pair of big 3-pointers by Davenport and Martin gave the Mountaineers a 59-56 lead with 1:41 to go, an advantage WVU kept for good.

WVU finished 21-of-60 (35 percent) from the field, including eight 3’s, and made 18 of its 24 free throws. Defensively, the Mountaineers forced 19 turnovers.

Texas Tech, which was led by Chrislyn Carr and Brittany Brewer’s 19 points, shot 24-of-61 (39.3 percent) as a team. The Lady Raiders also outrebounded the Mountaineers 46-37 and held a 34-14 advantage in points in the paint.

“We just didn’t take care of the ball,” Stollings said. “The 19 turnovers were really the difference in the game as we look at it. Some of those were unforced, and certainly a credit to West Virginia, but I thought we made some poor decisions down the stretch. We didn’t take care of the ball well enough.”

Next, WVU hosts Kansas State at 4 p.m. Saturday.

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