MANHATTAN, Kan. — Naomi Davenport lost her cool, and West Virginia lost a golden opportunity to get back on the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble in a disappointing 90-79 loss at Kansas State.
Davenport was called for technical foul with 3:21 left in the game when she punched the basketball to the floor after getting whistled for a personal foul. The Wildcats (18-10, 9-7 Big 12) made 3 of 4 ensuing free throws to extend their lead to seven and put a back-and-forth game just out of West Virginia’s reach.
Coach Mike Carey benched Davenport, his second-leading scorer and top rebounder, for the remainder of the game following the technical. It was an unfortunate ending for the senior, who moments earlier became just the second two-year player in program history to cross the 1,000-career point threshold.
Wednesday night was a massive turnaround from when the teams met in Morgantown on Jan. 26. The Wildcats tripled their scoring output from that contest, a 60-30 West Virginia win.
Senior guard Kayla Goth matched that total on her own, scoring a career-high and game-high 30 points for Kansas State. Christianna Carr added 22 points and seven rebounds.
Goth brought West Virginia (19-8, 10-6) plenty of angst at the free-throw line, where she made 11 of 12 attempts. The Wildcats were 28 of 34 from the charity stripe as a team.
K-State’s offensive outburst continued a sudden surge against a once-sturdy Mountaineer defense. WVU allowed 80 points in Saturday’s stunning home loss to last-place Oklahoma. The Wildcats shot 51 percent from the field.
Tynice Martin led the Mountaineers with 27 points and eight rebounds. Davenport added 19 points and eight boards.
The game was tied 35-35 at halftime before Kansas State opened the second half with a 16-3 run. West Virginia responded with a 17-0 run to retake the lead by the end of the third quarter. However, it was a short-lived advantage as K-State responded with a 5-0 run of its own to jump back ahead early in the fourth quarter.