Terryn Milton made a behind-the-back dribble and then shot a little tear drop that went off the back of the rim and hung on the front of the rim seemingly forever before falling in to give the Oklahoma State Cowgirls a 62-61 lead with 0.1 seconds remaining against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Big 12 quarterfinals Friday at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. West Virginia’s ensuing inbound pass went off the rim as time expired and the Cowgirls, currently a No. 8 seed in ESPN’s bracketology, held on for an incredible come-from-behind win that may have dashed the Mountaineers’ NCAA Tournament hopes.
West Virginia built comfortable leads in the second and third, but OK State continued to have an answer to keep it close. A Lior Garzon three at 3:13 remaining capped a 10-0 run and cut the Cowgirl deficit to one. OK State stole the ball on the ensuing possession, but Taylen Collins missed an inside attempt that would have given it the lead. After Collins’ miss, West Virginia’s JJ Qunierly had to be carried off the court due to an ankle injury suffered earlier in the contest. Quinerly was phenomenal for the Mountaineers while playing through pain and would return.
Madisen Smith, the other Mountaineer star for the day, made her fifth triple of the contest to push her team’s lead back to four at 2:02 remaining, but it would be West Virginia’s last basket. Garzon answered with another clutch three at the 1:31 mark to cut it back to one.
Milton was called for an offensive foul with 38 seconds to go, giving the Mountaineers an opportunity to make it a three- or four-point game while also turning the shot clock off. But Collins hauled in a clutch defensive rebound before a jump ball was called and possession was awarded to the Cowgirls with 13 ticks remaining.
Milton did the rest.
Collins finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, while Naomie Alnatas added 16 points and six assists for the winners. Milton was good for 12 points and three helpers.
Smith was 5-of-8 from deep with 23 points. Quinerly was 2-of-2 from distance with 18 points, four assists and three steals.
After OK State cut it to 38-35 with an 8-0 run, the Mountaineers responded with a 7-0 run that began with a Danni Nichols right-corner three at the buzzer of the shot clock. Quinerly stole the ball on the ensuing possession and dropped in a floater in transition before two Smith free throws wrapped up the run, making it 45-35 West Virginia.
Quinerly converted on a 3-point play after making a layup while falling down with 2:59 left before the fourth. That made it 48-38. Smith’s fourth triple of the contest extended the lead to 13 two minutes and eight seconds later and the Mountainers led by 11 entering the final frame.
Quinerly made a short fade in the paint that gave the Mountaineers a 12-point lead 36 seconds into the third and a transition layup that gave them an 11-point lead one minute and 12 seconds later. The Cowgirls then answered with the 8-0 run. It was a Collins 3-point play that kicked off the run; Garzon followed with a triple and then Collins made a layup in the post.
After a back-and-forth first, West Virginia created breathing room with a 7-0 run from 5:47 in the second to 3:19 in the second that made it 29-18 in its favor. Smith scored five of the seven points, including a high-arcing three. The Mountaineers led 34-24 at the break.
Quinerly provided the highlight of the opening frame when she made a layup high off the glass through a lot of contact from 6-foot-3 OK State center Kassidy De Lapp (Quinerly is 5-foot-8). Quinerly converted her awarded free throw for a 3-point play that made it 5-2 Mountaineers.
Quinerly also made a three that made it 15-12 West Virginia, giving her six points in the first. Smith also had a three in the frame and totaled seven points. Collins led the Cowgirls with seven points in the period.