March 5, 2013
Final Stats |
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Women’s Basketball team took down the West Virginia Mountaineers, 58-45, in the final game of the Big 12 Conference season finale on Tuesday night at the Frank Erwin Center. The win marked the third straight at home to close out the regular season for the Longhorns.
Sophomore forward Nneka Enemkpali recorded her second straight double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds, leading Texas with 13 this season. Enemkpali and freshman center Imani McGee-Stafford controlled the paint from start to finish, combining for 23 points and 27 rebounds, as the Longhorns outrebounded the Mountaineers, 43-25.
McGee-Stafford added five blocks and in the process broke the UT record for blocks by a freshmanwith 72.
West Virginia (17-12, 9-9 Big 12) led 20-18 in the opening half before Texas (12-17, 5-13 Big 12)went on a 6-0 run over the last 1:27 to give the Longhorns a 24-20 advantage heading into the locker room. Enemkpali led the way with 12 first-half points.
The game was tight throughout the opening eight minutes of the second half before Texas broke the game open with a 12-2 run over a four-minute stretch to take a 50-38 lead. Freshman guard Empress Davenport scored the last seven points of the run.
Davenport matched a season high with 15 points, all coming in the second frame.
West Virginia scored consecutive baskets to get within eight with just over six minutes remaining, but after a trio of Texas free throws, junior Chassidy Fussell and McGee-Stafford would convert inside layups to push the lead and secure the win.
Texas plays in the opening round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship on Friday March 8 at 6 p.m. against Kansas State. The tournament will be held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, with the winner of the Texas-Kansas State matchup taking on top seed Baylor on Saturday.
The Longhorns won their final three games at home this season over Kansas, TCU and West Virginia … Texas held WVU to 25 rebounds, tying a season low for a Texas opponent … UT dominated in the paint (30-14), in second-chance points (11-2) and in points off the bench (21-7) … Imani McGee-Stafford swatted five blocks tonight, bringing her 2012-13 total to 72 and topping Retha Swindell’s UT freshman record of 68 set during the 1975-76 season … her five tonight were her most since she blocked seven at TCU (Feb. 2) … McGee-Stafford also pulled down 12 rebounds, her sixth double-figure rebounding effort in eight games … Nneka Enemkpali recorded her 13th double-double of the season, the most for a Longhorn in 2012-13, with a 16-point, 15-rebound output ... Empress Davenport notched her seventh double-figure scoring effort in nine games with all 15 of her points (5-of-6 FG, 2-of-2 3FG, 3-of-6 FT) coming in the second half ... Texas is now 1-2 all-time against West Virginia with all three meetings occurring within the last year.
TEXAS POSTGAME QUOTES
Head coach Karen Aston
Opening statement: I’m really proud of the team. I can’t say enough about how much we’ve grown this year. We’ve gotten so much better game after game after game. I thought the difference tonight was our execution in the second half. We settled down and started getting the ball where it needed to be and started executing plays. It was rough and physical, but I thought both teams played really hard on defense. Our execution was just a little better.
On rebounding: Obviously, Nneka Enemkpali and Imani McGee-Stafford have been tremendous on the boards all year long, but I thought tonight our guards made an effort to get in there, get on the boards and add some hustle plays and loose-ball rebounds. That helps a lot. We let (Oklahoma State) slip away in Stillwater, just from standing around waiting on Nneka and Imani to get all the rebounds. We were much better and I think we learned a lesson from that game.
On the first half turnovers: We told them (at halftime) how many we had and that we were shooting over 40 percent, and that if we cut back on the turnovers and settled down offensively, we would be better. We talked about settling in and not dribbling so much.
On how much the team learned and grew over the entire year: I don’t think there is a measuring amount for how much they have grown. The biggest thing I take from this is the character of the people that we have returning. There was a lot of adversity. We went through several situations this year that you wouldn’t really wish upon any team. They buckled down and started playing for each other, more as a team, and bought into the way that we do things. I think that the fact that we are returning so many people is really a positive for the Big 12 Tournament. I think you could honestly say we are playing as good as anybody in the Big 12 and could beat anybody in the Big 12 on a given night. I feel really good about our team and where we are and how we’re playing.
Sophomore F Nneka Enemkpali
On her performance and Empress Davenport’s performance tonight: As you could see in the beginning, a lot of the easy chip shots for me weren’t going in. Empress does a great job of pushing the ball. She did that in the second half and got open shots and put them in. Once I got out of my own head, I was able to make some shots as well. It wasn’t a competition. She gets hers, but we worked as a team and we won the game. However we did it, we did it.
On second half improvements: I think our guards were really anxious as far as getting open because West Virginia did a really good job of denying the ball. I think in the second half they found a way to get open and figured out a way to execute as well.
On importance of winning the last regular season game: I think it’s good for us because we can grow on it as we go into this weekend in Dallas and go out there play on a free slate. It’s single elimination, so we can just go play and have fun, free of everything.
WEST VIRGINIA POSTGAME QUOTES
Head coach Mike Carey
On tonight’s game: First of all, we feel really bad about [junior F] Jess Harlee. She is our energy. She is our player with the most heart that gets our team going. We don’t know for sure what it is, but it doesn’t look good and we are worrying about her. Give Texas credit though. They came out and punched us in the mouth and we just sat there and took it. In the second half, we cut it to two a couple of times, but weended up fouling or giving up points in the paint. We didn’t box out and gave up three-point plays. It’s ridiculous, but give Texas all the credit.
On what effect Jess Harlee’s injury had on the team: I think it affected us. She is our energy. Even though she doesn’t start, she comes in and plays the majority of the game. We hope she will [be alright]. Mentally, she will be ok. Jess is a good girl.
On where WVU is heading into the postseason: We better play a lot better than we did today or it won’t be a long postseason. It looks like now we finish sixth and will play Oklahoma in the first round in the tournament, so we just have to get ready for that.