No. 10 WVU beats archrival Pitt 73-52
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — The Backyard Brawl has a tradition of closely matched, high-scoring games.
The first matchup in the series since 2012 broke that tradition as Teana Muldrow had 20 points and 11 rebounds and No. 10 West Virginia beat archrival Pittsburgh 73-52 on Thursday night.
The Mountaineers (8-0) cruised to the victory after opening the game on a 12-0 run.
Pitt (5-4) was outscored 26-13 in the first quarter, but battled back to bring the game within six points halfway through the second quarter.
“That first 10 minutes our defense is really, really good,” Mountaineers coach Mike Carey said. “We’re switching, we’re up the lines and we’re creating turnovers. Then, all of a sudden we sit back and let them catch it and run their offense and dribble-drive us.”
West Virginia closed the half on a 7-0 run to go into the locker room with a 36-23 lead and the Panthers never recovered.
With depth issues still hampering undefeated WVU, Muldrow had to play all 40 minutes.
“It’s definitely hard,” Muldrow said. “It messes with you mentally and physically. It’s just something I have to do for my team.”
Katrina Pardee added 15 points for the Mountaineers, all on 3-pointers while Kristina King had 14 points and Naomi Davenport 13.
Yacine Diop led Pitt with 18 points and seven rebounds while Kyla Nelson added 14 points.
“They are a very good team,” Pitt coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “Mike Carey is a very good coach and you can see why they are the number 10 team in the country.”
The Panthers will need to go back to the drawing board after their third straight loss. Pitt will get another chance to take down a regional rival with Penn State on the schedule on Dec. 17.
The Mountaineers will remain undefeated and hold bragging rights over rivals Virginia Tech and Pitt and should cruise until Big 12 play starts with home games against Coppin State, Radford, Morgan State and Morehead State.
The Backyard Brawl returned to the hardwood after being dormant for five years. The WVU-Pitt series was a fixture across all sports while both schools competed in the Big East Conference between 1995 and 2012. The rivalry has been renewed in men’s and women’s soccer for this year and next year and the football series is set to resume in 2022.
“None of these girls ever played Pitt so they don’t know,” Carey said. “I was talking to their coach before the game and she was trying to get her girls fired up. They didn’t know anything about West Virginia.”
Muldrow registered her fifth double-double of the season and 14th of her career. The senior forward has scored in double figures in nine straight games and 36 of her last 40.
Expect the Mountaineers to remain in the top 10 of the AP Top 25, but don’t be surprised if they don’t go up unless No. 7 UCLA or No. 9 Oregon lose this weekend.
Pittsburgh begins a three-game home stand against UNC Wilmington on Saturday.
West Virginia plays host to Coppin State on Sunday.