MORGANTOWN, W.Va — Dawn Plitzuweit, the Bear slayer?
West Virginia women’s basketball extended its streak to three wins on Sunday after upsetting the No. 18 Baylor Bears 74-65 for the first time in program history at the WVU Coliseum. Plitzuweit herself won her second game over the Bears as a coach after knocking them off in the 2022 NCAA Tournament with South Dakota.
“I thought our kids played really hard and I thought they played really solid basketball and did a really good job of trying to hold them down to the best of our ability, and that’s really hard to do with them,” Plitzuweit said.
WVU prevailed in a game of runs, opening the game with a trio of three-pointers. The Mountaineers built a quick 11-point lead in the final minutes of the third quarter behind a 12-2 run before the Bears got it back down to single digits at the buzzer.
The Bears were dealt a gift in the second quarter when WVU guard JJ Quinerly picked up her second foul. Plitzuweit was forced to keep the sophomore on the bench for much of the period, allowing Baylor to claw back.
The Bears ended the half with a 16-1 run, which was enough to take the lead at the halftime break.
“I think some of our success in the second quarter was JJ Quinerly sitting on the bench, I mean, that helped,” said Baylor coach Nicki Collen. “She’s such a threat with the ball in her hands, playing downhill, she’s making threes, so that was some of it.”
Baylor continued its streak by adding an 11-2 run out of the locker room, but Quinerly’s return to the floor sparked a shift in momentum. The point guard scored 12 of her 17 points after halftime, at one point notching a four-point play with an individual effort to chop WVU’s deficit to a bucket.
Madisen Smith retook the lead for West Virginia with a three-pointer as 90 seconds remained in the quarter. Smith matched Quinerly with 17 points.
WVU held at least a share of the lead for the entire fourth quarter as the Bears’ ball security fell apart. Seven of Baylor’s 15 turnovers came in the final period of play as the Mountaineers sealed the victory.
Jayla Hemingway logged three of those takeaways for WVU in a blue-collar performance, notching 15 points and leading the team with 14 rebounds. Kylee Blacksten also finished in double figures with 16 points, including a pair of clutch three-pointers that helped WVU go on a couple of runs.
Sarah Andrews led the game for Baylor with 24 points, but struggled from the field and took 23 shots in the game. Ja’Mee Asberry took 12 shots but notched just three points.
“[Our defensive success] was just kind of straight down the line of, everyone had each other’s back,” Blacksten said.
WVU earns its third Big 12 win as Plitzuweit brings her team to a winning record in the conference for the first time as the Mountaineers’ coach. West Virginia ties for fourth in the league with Oklahoma State with 13 games to go in the league.
The Bears fall right behind the Mountaineers with their loss, matching their Big 12 record.
WVU hits the road for its next contest as it braces for No. 23 Kansas on Wednesday. Tip-off at Allen Fieldhouse is set for 8 p.m. ET.