Texas upset by West Virginia in Big 12 Tournament

Dalton Phillips

Brooke McCarty set her feet in the corner and let it fly.

The Longhorns faced a familiar situation in Sunday’s 62-59 loss to West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals. Like the loss to Baylor at home two weeks ago, the junior guard had an open look from behind the arc with a chance to tie the game in the final seconds. And again, McCarty’s shot bounced off the rim as the clock ticked to zero. 

The sixth-seeded Mountaineers connected on nine threes en route to the upset over second-seeded Texas. 

McCarty scored 13 points and junior guard Ariel Atkins added 12, but the tandem shot a combined 7-23 from the field as Texas floundered offensively for most of the contest. 

“We got some good looks tonight, we just didn’t shoot the ball well at all,” head coach Karen Aston said. “So many possessions that we had good looks and just didn’t finish shots today at all. Credit to West Virginia, they were better than we were.”

Sophomore Tynice Martin had the hot hand all game long for the Mountaineers, accounting for 29 of her team’s 62 points. And after an even first quarter, the momentum began to quickly shift in favor of the blue and yellow. 

A short jumper from sophomore guard Lashann Higgs 40 seconds into the second quarter proved to be the only field goal of that period for Texas. The team put up five points to West Virginia’s 17 in the ten-minute span. The quarter was part of a sluggish first half for the Longhorns, who shot 28 percent on 7-25 from the field in the matchup. Ten turnovers didn’t help the Longhorns, either. 

“I thought the second quarter we really got away from just team basketball to be honest with you. We got away from doing the things I think we’ve been doing all year long,” Aston said. “Just not a real great team performance at all. We weren’t ourselves today at all. And again credit to West Virginia, they’re hungry. They looked like a team that wanted to win a little bit worse than we did.”

Texas won both regular season games against West Virginia by double-digit margins, but the Mountaineers played with a sense of urgency that was too much for the Longhorns.

The Mountaineers dismantled Oklahoma, 82-58, in Saturday’s quarterfinal round, and continued the dominance in the semifinals.

Texas will head home to regroup for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Despite the unexpected exit from the Big 12 Tournament, Aston is confident the team’s seeding won’t slip. 

“We may have dropped a little bit,” Aston said. “There’s been a lot of people who have been what you would call upset in their conference tournament, so I’m not sure there is a whole lot that is going to change between now and the Tournament.”