FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Katrina Pardee and Chania Ray combined on a two quick baskets in the fourth quarter that finally put No. 9 West Virginia ahead to stay.
That was only part of an incredible finish by Pardee, back in her home state and helping the Mountaineers stay undefeated.
Pardee scored 15 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers in a game-deciding run as West Virginia beat TCU 87-82 on Thursday night in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
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”She was in foul trouble the whole game, that’s why really (TCU) stayed in a lot of zone, because Katrina was on the bench. She’s one of our 3-point shooters,” coach Mike Carey said. ”She came in, we got a couple of fast breaks and let her spot up, and she hit a couple of key 3s.”
West Virginia (13-0, 1-0 Big 12) led for good after Pardee, who is from Cedar Park near Austin, had an assist on the tiebreaking layup by Ray with 6 1/2 minutes left. Almost immediately after that, Pardee had a steal and made a 3-pointer after getting a pass back from Ray. That was part of a 25-9 run after TCU (9-3, 0-1) had taken a five-point lead on Jordan Moore’s jumper to start the fourth quarter.
”West Virginia is a No. 9-ranked team for a reason,” Frogs coach Raegan Pebley said. ”They’re good, and whenever you take a good team on their heels, threatening to win the game, they’re going to respond back. They did that.”
Naomi Davenport scored 19 of her career-high 32 points in the first half for West Virginia. Teana Muldrow had 20 points and 17 rebounds for her seventh double-double this season, while Ray had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Amber Ramirez had 21 points for TCU with a highlight assist. Amy Okonkwo had 17 points, while Moore had 15 and Kianna Ray 11.
Midway through the third quarter, Ramirez lobbed a pass inside to Adeola Akomolafe, who caught the ball in the air and completed the layup before her feet hit the ground again.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers improved to 13-1 in the series against TCU, with all but two of those games coming since the teams joined the Big 12 together five years ago.
TCU: After their best non-conference record since 2003-04, the Frogs scored the most points against West Virginia this season (previously 68 by Butler). With two assists in the final 26 seconds, they finished with 17 assists and 16 turnovers and remained the only Big 12 team that hasn’t had a game this season with more turnovers than assists.
Davenport, a junior college transfer, became the first Big 12 player in 17 seasons with a 30-point game in her first conference game in her first season at the school, according to STATS. Sheila Lambert, a junior college transfer, had 32 points in her Baylor conference debut on Jan. 3, 2001. Lambert had 37 points in her second Big 12 game.
The Mountaineers entered Big 12 play without junior guard Tynice Martin, who hasn’t played since an injury during Team USA tryouts, and senior forward Kristina King, who suffered a foot injury two weeks ago.
”We just needed to win it,” Carey said. ”We just have so many players not playing, not dressed right now, then you get in foul trouble. Then you try to go zone, which you never play, and boy, did it look like we never played it. … Give our girls a lot of credit.”
AFTER THE BREAK
Pebley gave the Horned Frogs an extended break for Christmas. They got to go home the morning after their previous game Dec. 20, and then returned to campus for practice the day after Christmas, two days before the conference opener.
West Virginia stays in Texas, and plays the No. 8 Longhorns on Sunday.
TCU plays its next two games on the road, starting Sunday at Kansas.