Connect with us

Big 12

Kansas State Eliminates WVU Women’s Basketball After JJ Quinerly Misses Final Shot



WVU Women's Basketball team huddle during Big 12 Tournament
Image credit to WVU Athletics

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The West Virginia Mountaineers (24-6, 12-6 Big 12) fell to the Kansas State Wildcats (24-6, 13-5 Big 12) in the quarterfinal of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament. The WVU women’s basketball program was looking to pick up its sixth Big 12 Tournament semifinal appearance in program history. But Ayoka Lee powered the Wildcats to a heart-breaking 65-62 victory over the Mountaineers, eliminating them from the competition.

West Virginia got off and running early as the Wildcats won the tip, but JJ Quinerly stole the ball and hit a tough layup with a foul. The early success fueled the Mountaineers to a shocking 21-9 lead, that was headlined by four straight three-pointers.

One of the key defensive matchups in this game was how the Mountaineers were going to be able to handle Lisa Leslie Award finalist Ayoka Lee, who came into the game averaging 19.8 points-per-game. Lee was matched up with Kylee Blacksten early, and Blacksten was doing a formidable job mitigating Lee’s presence in the paint, but picked up her second foul and was subbed out with 3:13 remaining in the first and was not subbed back in for the rest of the first half. To make matters worse, her sub Tirzah Moore got her second foul just three minutes later and had to be subbed out for Tavy Diggs who would guard Lee for the remainder of the half.

With Diggs on her for the majority of the half, Lee was able to take over and finish the half with 16 points, and powered the Wildcats to a 34-31 lead mostly piggybacking off of a 30% shooting performance from the Mountaineers in the second quarter.

A pivotal moment in the game came at the end of the third quarter, with the Mountaineers down 49-43 with five seconds left as Kyah Watson knocked down two free-throws, then intercepted an inbounds play and kicked it out to JJ Quinerly for a buzzer-beating three. The Mountaineers went into the fourth quarter down one, with a chance to pull off the upset.

Quinerly finished the game with 27 points on 9-of-23 shooting

As the final minutes waned down, it was Jordan Harrison who provided a spark for the Mountaineers, scoring seven straight points to keep the Mountaineers level until late. Repeated empty possessions from West Virginia gave the Wildcats the chance to capitalize, with the help of a very pro Wildcat brass on Saturday night.

Harrison tallied 16 points on the night at a 6-0f-15 clip.

With a chance to tie on the final possession down three with 15 seconds left, the Moutnaineers entrusted the ball to their leader Quinerly’s hands. Quinerly kicked it out to Blacksten who missed a three-pointer, and the ball went out of bounds seemingly off of the Mountaineers with 4.9 seconds left. The call was reviewed and possession was given to the Wildcats, and they would subsequently miss two free throws and give the Mountaineers a chance to tie it with just 2.2 seconds left. Quinerly’s shot barely rimmed in and out and the Mountaineers fell 65-62.

Statistically, the Mountaineers shot 38.9% from the field and 38.1% from three while the Wildcats shot 57.4% and 36.4% from three. West Virginia was 12-of-17 from the free throw line, and was outrebounded 35 to 21 by Kansas State. Turnover wise, the Mountaineers forced 18 turnovers to K-State’s 12 and had the exact same split when it came to points off of turnovers.

The loss moves WVU Women’s Basketball to 12-10 in Big 12 Tournament play and 18-9 all-time against the Wildcats, with this K-State group holding a 2-0 record over the Mountaineers this season.

Get WVSN in your mailbox!

Enter your email address to subscribe to WVSN and receive notifications of new posts by email.