The WVU men's team saw Kansas' Andrew Wiggins score 41 points, but beat back that onslaught with a 92-86 win in the Coliseum in the early afternoon. The ladies, in similar fashion, overcame Zahna Medley's 32 points to down TCU 67-59 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 women's basketball championships.
Zahna, who hit four threes in the first half and six overall, almost singlehandedly kept the Horned Frogs in the game against the second-ranked Mountaineers. Hitting step back jumpers from three and mid-range pull-ups, Medley helped TCU forge a 31-31 tie at the half.
"We didn't play good defense at all [in the first half]," WVU head coach Mike Carey said afterward.
The other factor in TCU's success was a swarming 2-3 zone defense designed to limit the touches of WVU center Asya Bussie. While the Mountaineer stalwart did finish the game with 18 points and 13 rebounds, the strategy did work well for much of the game. TCU forced several turnovers when West Virginia tried to force the ball inside, and immediately jumped into double teams when the senior center did get the ball.
Compounding West Virginia's scoring issues was a lack of outside shooting -- the Mountaineers didn't hit a three in the first half, and didn't make their first one of the game until the 11:25 mark. At that point, the Frogs had jumped out to a 45-41 lead, and appeared to be frustrating WVU's offensive attack. However, Taylor Palmer broke the ice with that first three, then hit another on the next possession to give the Mountaineers a 47-45 edge.
West Virginia never relinquished that lead, but after pushing it out to nine at 56-47, TCU clawed back into the game. Holding the Mountaineers without a field goal for the next six minutes, the Frogs got to within a single point of the lead at 57-56 with 2:21 to play. But again, WVU responded, as it has many times in the late going this year. Bussie scored inside, and although she missed out on converting the three-point play, Linda Stepney hit a pair of free throws, and Jess Harlee alertly stepped into the lane to rebound and score off a missed Stepney foul shot one possession later. Averee Fields' two free throws on the next possession gave WVU the final breathing room it needed to record the tough quarterfinal win.
In addition to Bussie's double-double, Christal Caldwell scored ten points and snared six rebounds, while Palmer added 11 while making all three of her 3-point attempts. Fields added eight points and six boards, while Harlee's defense and all-around hustle were also key factors in the win.