Sometimes, a team’s fate is decided by a mere fraction of an inch.
West Virginia women’s basketball was eliminated from the Big 12 Tournament on Friday after Terryn Milton hit a game-winning shot for Oklahoma State, completing a 13-point second-half comeback for the Cowgirls. The No. 4 seed OSU moves on to the tournament semifinals and awaits the winner of game 4 between top-seeded Texas and Kansas State.
Madisen Smith put on one of the performances of her long Mountaineer career, scoring 15 points in the first half to give WVU a 10-point halftime lead. She was helped by JJ Quinerly, who added six points in the first two quarters.
The Mountaineers built on their lead in the third quarter, bringing it to a game-high 13 points with less than a minute to go in the period.
Things fell apart for them in the fourth, however, as the Cowgirl defense tightened up. OSU held WVU to just three field goals in the final quarter as the Mountaineers shot 23 percent from the field.
Oklahoma State mounted a comeback with that opportunity, and with 13 seconds left on the clock, had the ball with the opportunity to draw up a play.
Cowgirl coach Jacie Hoyt gave the ball to Milton for an isolation, and the guard cut into the paint and floated a shot over a pair of WVU defenders. The ball hung on the rim for a (relatively) lengthy period before dropping through the net.
WVU got the ball back with a tenth of a second in the game, but was unable to convert.
Smith finished the game with 23 points, leading all scorers. Quinerly added 18.
Milton’s game-winner brought her scoring total to 12 points. Naomie Alnatas led the Cowgirls with 16 points.
The defeat likely deals a lethal blow to the NCAA Tournament hopes fo coach Dawn Plitzuweit’s first-year team. The Mountaineers were listed on the bad side of the bubble in the lead-up to the Big 12 Tournament, and hoped to make a positive move with a run in Kansas City.
WVU will learn its fate on Sunday when the NCAA Tournament bracket is unveiled.