Tynice Martin is usually the focal point of any opposing coach’s game plan.
However, the last time that the West Virginia guard faced Texas, teammate Naomi Davenport became the center of attention. In her first meeting with the Longhorns this season, a 70-58 West Virginia loss that took place in Morgantown, Davenport dropped a heavy 26 points. None of her teammates even cracked double digits.
This time around, Martin made sure Davenport had help as West Virginia downed Texas, 64-58, on Monday night in Austin.
The 5-foot-11-inch guard showed up in a major way early in the game. Her presence was felt at the most opportune time. The Longhorns had gone up quickly in the first quarter and then experienced Martin’s explosiveness firsthand.
She went on a personal 9-0 run to give West Virginia a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the night.
“Tynice got off early,” West Virginia head coach Mike Carey said. “(She) really gave us a lead and got us going a little bit.”
While Martin certainly had a great game, it wasn’t a performance that was out of her realm of capabilities.
“I (saw) her do that two years ago in the tournament,” Carey said. “When she gets it going, she can really score in volumes. She had it going there for a while.”
Martin became a starter her sophomore season and averaged 18.6 points on the year. Monday, she showed the full scoring arsenal and her ability to make shots regardless of their difficulty.
Martin was hitting shots from the left side, right side, in the paint and beyond the 3-point line. Her shot, combined with a matrix-like focus, garnered 16 of her team’s first 23 points in the opening period.
“If you give her space, she’s gonna shoot it,” Texas guard Sug Sutton said.
After the first, she was relatively quiet for the rest of the game until her team needed her to lock back in. Texas had made a rally to make it a four-point game late in the fourth. However, after a series of turnovers and missed shots, Texas fumbled the chance for a comeback win.
“We did a better job of forcing the ball out of Tynice’s hands,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “Obviously, she had the ball in her hands when it mattered.”
Martin was able to put her team in the lead at the beginning of the game and serve as the closer for a streaking Mountaineers team.
Carey was asked if Martin is the best player in the Big 12. He pumped the brakes, but didn’t completely dismiss the notion.
“She’s one of them,” Carey said.
Martin had one of her best games of the season, a good sign to see while she is making her way back from a foot fracture that forced her to redshirt all of last season. Her 27 points served as a game high and her season high to go along with five rebounds and three assists.
“That (foot) is starting to get a lot better,” Carey said. “She’s starting to get her timing and quickness. I’m seeing the old Tynice as the season goes along.”
With Martin’s scoring ability paired with her running mate Davenport, the Mountaineers have set themselves up for a possible postseason run — a run that will only last if Martin can carry them there.