The Norman Transcript

National Sports

March 7, 2014

WVU ahead of the curve

OKLAHOMA CITY — It took West Virginia two years to make a splash in the Big 12.

The seventh-ranked Mountaineers earned a share of the regular-season title in their second year in the league and take a 10-game win streak into the conference tournament that starts today at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Seniors Asya Bussie, Christal Caldwell, Brooke Hampton, Jess Harlee and Taylor Palmer will be remembered for winning the title and the most regular-season games in school history.

“To win the Big 12 in the second year is great, and with this group,” Big 12 coach of the year Mike Carey said. “A lot of times, you have seniors and you say the right things about your seniors because people are going to write it down. I really mean what I say about these seniors this time. They’re just great people. They deserve this. They worked hard through the summers and all that, and that makes it all worthwhile.”

West Virginia (27-3), the No. 2 seed, will play today’s TCU-Texas Tech winner Saturday.

Ninth-ranked Baylor (26-4), which earned a share of the title and the top seed in the tournament, will play today’s Kansas-Kansas State winner Saturday in the quarterfinals. Sims, the Big 12 player of the year, takes a 29.6 scoring average into the tournament. Nina Davis, a freshman forward, was also named to the all-conference first team. The Bears earned their share of the title with a win over Iowa State on Tuesday night.

Saturday’s action opens when No. 4 seed Oklahoma State plays No. 5 Iowa State. The Cowgirls started the season 12-0 but have lost six of seven. Iowa State won its first 14 games this season but finished 9-9 in league play.

Texas and Oklahoma play in Saturday’s nightcap. Oklahoma, the preseason favorite in the Big 12, is seeded sixth. Guard Aaryn Ellenberg was knocked out of the Oklahoma State game with a concussion, but has returned to average 24.3 points in her past three games. No. 3 seed Texas allows opponents to shoot just 34 percent.

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