MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — No. 24 Texas dominated the glass on Wednesday to take a 69-56 win over the West Virginia women’s basketball team in Morgantown.
The Longhorns built a quick double-digit lead over the Mountaineers in the opening minutes of play, forcing WVU to play catch-up for the first three quarters. Much of that success was due to their aggressive rebounding performance, grabbing 15 boards on offense and defense as WVU shot 1-for-8 in the first quarter.
Texas finished the game with a plus-15 margin in the glass and snagged 14 offensive rebounds in the contest.
The Mountaineers fought back in the third quarter to get back within a bucket. They finished the period on an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to three points, capped off by a layup by Sarah Bates with seven seconds on the clock.
Bates finished with a season-high 12 points.
“I think just the energy that we came off the bench with really helped us because I don’t know if they expected us to be attacking the rim like that because most of us are shooters,” Bates said.
West Virginia never captured the lead, however. Rori Harmon, who struggled in the first half, took the lead for Texas and helped bring the Longhorns back ahead by double-digits. She scored nine of her 14 points in the final frame, including the Longhorns’ last seven points.
The sophomore guard struggled early in the game, notching just two points before halftime.
“My shots were finally falling,” Harmon said. “I got to the right spots early on, and just some early turnovers, that is a little frustrating for me.”
Harmon had five of Texas’ 18 turnovers as the Longhorns struggled with ball security. WVU had similar woes, finishing with 18 of their own.
Ultimately, it was that battle on the rebounding glass that decided the game. Texas turned those 14 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points as the Mountaineers struggled to find a foothold under the basket.
“I think their second-chance points really hurt us, and us missing 10 free throws really hurt us,” said WVU coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “So you kind of minimize those two things and shrink that down and it’s a little different scenario.”
The victory is crucial for the Longhorns as they maintain a one-game lead over No. 20 Oklahoma on top of the Big 12 standings. West Virginia slides to fifth but has played one fewer game than the top three teams in the league.
The Mountaineers have a tough road trip this upcoming weekend as they travel to Oklahoma to face both the Sooners and the Cowgirls. The voyage begins in Norman with a 3 p.m. ET tip-off on Saturday.