By defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 67-60, West Virginia won a share of the regular season Big 12 title in just its second year of Big 12 action.
"This championship started four years ago, it didn't just start this year. All the assistant coaches and all the hard work they put in with recruiting, getting these players in here, the people making them better," said West Virginia head coach Mike Carey.
Tonights game between Kansas (12-18, 5-13) and West Virginia (27-3, 16-2) was sloppier than a young girl cooking for her first ever boyfriend, in the first half. The Mountaineers shot 12-34 (35%) in the first half while the Jayhawks didn't fair much better shooting 12-32 (37.5%). Regardless, West Virginia lead 32-28 at the half.
At the start of the second half, Kansas wouldn't go away. The Jayhawks took a 36-34 lead 2:49 into the second half as Mountaineer fans started to get a bit on edge.
"We have been in that position so many times this year when teams come back, or its been a tight game all game. We've persevered so many times, so we were just like we have been here before," said Taylor Palmer.
Then the Mountaineers went on a 6-0 run ending with 14:20 remaining in the game that would give West Virginia the lead back. The Mountaineers would not look back and extended their lead over the Jayhawks to as much as 13 with 3:54 remaining. Kansas continued to fight but it wasn't enough.
Tonight, the Mountaineers were lead by Bria Holmes who recorded 16 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Asya Bussie (14 points and 9 rebounds) missed out on a double-double by one rebound. Christal Caldwell also added 14 points for West Virginia.
West Virginia wins its first Big 12 regular season title in program history in only its second year of Big 12 competition and in front of its home crowd. This is the first conference championship for the program since 1991-1992 when it was a part of the Atlantic 10 conference.
"It's hard to explain. Words can't explain it and to be able to do it in front of a big crowd and in front of our families on senior night. If anyone could ask for a senior night, I think this is what they would ask for. It was just great," said senior guard Christal Caldwell.
West Virginia isn't done. The 7th ranked Mountaineers will go into the Big 12 Championship tournament as the 2nd seed behind the Baylor Bears. The tournament will be held from March 7th-10th in Oklahoma City. Regardless of how the Mountaineers do, Kansas' long winded head coach gave a lot of recognition to the West Virginia Big 12 regular season title
"I would think they could make a heck of a run(in the Big 12 tournament), honestly, who has had the best depth in the league but them? Them and Texas are the guys that play the most (referring to the teams benches) and their depth is really impressive," said Bonnie Hendrickson.