Quinerly, WVU power past Cincinnati to set up Big 12 quarterfinal game against Kansas State

Mar. 8—MORGANTOWN — With a brace on her right knee and, maybe, a half-step slower than normal, J.J. Quinerly showed the rest of the Big 12 on Friday night she's still pretty good.

Quinerly scored 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting to lead the WVU women's basketball team to a 70-55 victory against Cincinnati in the second round of the Big 12 tournament inside the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo.

The Big 12's defensive player of the year and all-league player injured her knee in the final game of the regular season last week, but after six days of rest, Quinerly was back in action.

She started and missed the first two shots she attempted—both threes—but Quinerly made her next shot from behind the arc that gave WVU an 11-6 lead and was off and running from there.

Kyah Watson broke out of a slump to add 13 points and six rebounds.

Up next is a trip to the Big 12 quarterfinals, where the Mountaineers (24-6) will play 16th-ranked Kansas State (24-6) at 9 p.m. Saturday.

The two teams played a classic last month, with the Wildcats pulling out a 73-64 home win in overtime.

It was Jordan Harrison who forced the overtime by driving the length of the court and got off a shot at the rim that went through at the buzzer to force the extra session.

Where the Mountaineers struggled against K-State was defending Ayoka Lee, which is where most teams have struggled this season against the Wildcats.

Lee, a 6-foot-6 center, finished with 34 points and 12 rebounds in that game. She shot 12 of 17 from the field and went 10 of 14 from the foul line.

K-State outscored the Mountaineers 42-22 in the paint and WVU shot just 35.2 % (25 of 71) in that game.

The winner of Saturday's game will advance to Monday's semifinals to face either Kansas or sixth-ranked Texas.

As for the second-round win, WVU won its sixth consecutive game against the Bearcats (14-17), which dates back to when both programs were members of the Big East.

After falling behind 6-3 early, Harrison got the Mountaineers going again with two free throws and Lauren Fields nailed a 3-pointer that gave WVU an 8-6 lead and it never trailed again.

Watson was the main reason why. In the last four games of the regular season, the junior guard averaged just 4.8 points per game, but she came out and hit two 3-pointers and had 11 points by halftime.

WVU's defense also forced 15 turnovers—including three shot-clock violations—and scored 14 points off them, as the Mountaineers took a commanding 42-21 lead at the half.

Harrison scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half and Jayla Hemingway came off the bench to add 13 points, as the Mountaineers shot 47 % (23 of 49) from the field.

Cincinnati was held to 40.4 % (19 of 47) shooting, but the Bearcats did outscore WVU 34-28 in the second half. Cincinnati finished with 23 turnovers.