No. 24 Baylor survives career-game from J.J. Quinerly to sweep WVU with 66-65 victory

Feb. 24—MORGANTOWN — There are no words today that can accurately describe the range of emotions J.J. Quinerly must have felt Saturday.

The hard truth—the one Quinerly didn't want to hear after No. 24 Baylor walked out of the Coliseum with a shocking 66-65 victory—is that the WVU women's basketball star was not the cause for the Mountaineers' last-second loss.

She doesn't believe that, no matter what everyone else said after the game.

"That's just me, honestly, " Quinerly said. "I'm a person, no matter how well I do, no matter how many points you see me put on the board, I'm always going to think about the mistakes I made."

BOX SCORE In short, Quinerly was a hero against the Bears (21-6, 10-6 Big 12), literally willing the Mountaineers into the lead late in the game after Baylor had taken a 64-54 lead with just 3:17 remaining.

At that point, Quinerly put the Mountaineers (22-5, 11-5) on her shoulders and carried them with one drive to the basket after another, and then a 3-pointer with 1:09 remaining to give WVU a 65-64 advantage.

"I'm not saying we didn't deserve to win, but Quinerly had such an unbelievable game, " Baylor coach Nicki Collen said. "She was so good tonight."

Quinerly was a hero, finishing with a career-high 33 points in a game where she didn't get much help from teammates, who just had the most unfortunate of moments.

With 7.9 seconds remaining, and WVU still clinging to the one-point lead, Quinerly mishandled an inbounds pass. As she tried to recover, her momentum continued to carry her toward Baylor's bench.

"The ball went in the air, I went to catch it and I bobbled it a little bit, " she said. "Things happen. You never know when certain things are going to happen or when you're going to make a mistake.

"It happened and they capitalized off of it."

The ball hit off Quinerly's knee and began to roll toward the corner, where she and Baylor guard Jada Walker went diving after it.

Walker came up with the ball and raced to the basket looking to make a game-winning shot, but Quinerly fouled her with 4.3 seconds left, her fifth foul of the game.

Walker—a 78 % free-throw shooter—hurt her neck on the play, and so Collen subbed in guard Jana Van Gytenbeek, who was just 8 of 10 from the line on the season.

Gytenbeek made both free throws for the winning margin, as Quinerly could now only watch from the sidelines.

"Everyone is going to want to talk about that turnover late. It was an unfortunate circumstance late, " WVU head coach Mark Kellogg said. "It didn't come down to that one play. Without her, we wouldn't have been in it."

Without Quinerly, the Mountaineers were heading for a much worse loss.

She began an out-of-nowhere 11-0 run with two free throws, and then followed that up with a foul-line jumper.

Harrison, who added 16 points for WVU, then scored a bucket on a driving lay-up, before Quinerly followed that up with a drive of her own.

All of a sudden, WVU had cut the lead to 64-62 with 1:27 remaining.

Quinerly gave the Mountaineers the lead with a 3-pointer with 1:09 left.

"I knew it was going to be good while the ball was still in my hands, " Quinerly said of the shot.

Kellogg said the Mountaineers truly lost the game in the third quarter, after the Bears came out after halftime and outscored WVU 25-14 to take a 50-42 lead heading into the fourth.

"Our defense wasn't that good, " Harrison said of the third quarter. "Our rotations were slow. We weren't tough in transition. We had some mental breakdowns on defense."

WVU can also point to the fact it shot just 3 of 17 from 3-point range and starting guards Lauren Fields and Kyah Watson did not factor into the game offensively. They finished a combined 0 for 11 shooting.

After Gytenbeek's winning free throws, the Mountaineers had one final chance.

Much like she did against Kansas State on Wednesday to send that game into overtime, Harrison took the inbounds pass and attempted to go coast-to-coast with it.

Except this time Baylor's defense was set and Harrison's shot was well contested at the buzzer and never reached the rim.

"That was quite an ending, " Collen said.

An ending Quinerly may never let herself forget.

"I didn't want it to happen, but it did, " Quinerly said. "We can't sit here and dwell on it, no matter how mad I want to be right now. We still have stuff to do. We still have games to play."