Mountaineer Women Advance In Tourney; Face Caitlin Clark & No. 1 Iowa!

IOWA CITY, Iowa—JJ Quinerly and the West Virginia Mountaineer Women’s basketball team advanced in the NCAA tournament Saturday night ending Princeton’s five game winning streak 63-53 in the first round game. Quinerly, who scored 29 points, was 10 of 19 from the field, and had the first 12 points of the fourth quarter. The eighth seeded Mountaineers (25-7) pulled away from the No. 9 Tigers to advance to Monday night’s second round-round game against No. 1 seed Iowa and top scorer Caitiyn Clark.

WVU rallied in the second half as its pressure defense disrupted Princeton. The Mountaineers led 42-35 early in the fourth quarter when Quinerly took over, hitting four field goals and going four for four in free throws over a 6 and half minute stretch to keep Princeton from coming back. The Tigers (25-5), the Ivy League champion making its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, led the entire first half despite shooting 34 percent from the field. The Tigers had a 24-12 lead in rebounding, and Kaitlyn Chen had 11 of their points. Princeton led by as much as 9 points, but the Mountaineers got to 26-24 at the half on Jordan Harrison’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

Harrison’s three pointer gave the Mountaineers a spark heading into the half, which continued into the second half. WVU’s pressure defense began wearing down the Tigers, who had 10 turnovers in the first 5 and a half minutes of the third quarter to help start a 13-0 run by the Mountaineers. WVU outscored Princeton 18-7 in the quarter. WVU shot 52.5 percent for the game, and went 64.7 percent in the second half. The Mountaineers made 5 of their first 6 shots in the fourth quarter. The Tigers just shot 33 percent for the game, 30 percent in the second half.

Harrison had 15 points and Kylee Blacksten had ten for WVU. Princeton had a 34-28 rebounding edge.

The Mountaineers face a tough Iowa (30-4) Monday night led by Caitlin Clark. Iowa defeated Holy Cross 91-65 earlier Saturday to advance. Iowa will be playing on its home court. History statistics are against the Mountaineers. The number 8 seed has only won once in 48 against number one seeds. Nevertheless the “never say die” Mountaineers will give it their best to upset Clark and the Hawkeyes.

Ray Anthony Vallorani