MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Add West Virginia’s Mark Kellogg to the growing list of coaches left impressed after watching Madison Booker of Texas on her freshman tour of the Big 12.
Booker had 15 points and a season-high 12 rebounds and she bounced back from a hard fall late to lead No. 10 Texas to a 70-49 win over No. 24 West Virginia on Saturday.
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“She’s elite. We knew that coming in,” Kellogg said. “At times she made it look easy.”
In a season of mounting injuries for the Longhorns, Booker had her own brush with getting hurt.
Booker and West Virginia’s Tirzah Moore landed on their backs battling for a loose ball late in the third quarter. Moore left the game while Booker stayed in to make two free throws, then rubbed her lower back near the Texas bench after the quarter ended. She remained in the game.
“It did hurt but I had to get up and shake it off,” Booker said. “That’s all I was thinking about was my team. Because they were there for me, so I’m going to be there for them.”
Booker is averaging 18.5 points in four games since moving from her regular forward position to point guard after teammate Rori Harmon was lost for the season with a knee injury.
Booker said she wasn’t aware of how many rebounds she had.
“I was actually just out there playing,” she said. “I was thinking ball. Just playing hard.”
The Mountaineers entered the game third nationally with 25 forced turnovers per game. But Texas (15-1, 2-1 Big 12) fought through West Virginia’s full-court press for easy early layups and never trailed.
“Our number one concern going in was the press, for sure,” Texas coach Vic Shaefer said. “We spent a lot of time on it. What they do is really effective.”
The Mountaineers (13-1, 2-1) couldn’t recover from a poor beginning and saw the second-best start in school history snapped. West Virginia opened the game 2 of 12 from the floor and fell behind 23-11.
Booker scored eight points in the second quarter and the Longhorns’ lead grew steadily the rest of the game.
Shaylee Gonzales added 15 points for Texas and Aaliyah Moore scored 12. Leading scorer Taylor Jones returned after missing four games with a hip injury. She finished with eight points in 21 minutes off the bench.
JJ Quinerly led West Virginia (13-1, 2-1) with 22 points and Jordan Harrison added 10. Hounded by Booker, Quinerly made 6 of 20 field goals, including 1 of 12 from 3-point range.
“We just never found an offensive rhythm whatsoever,” Kellogg said. “We did not make shots. I liked the shots we got early in the game. We started forcing them as the game went. We got a little frustrated.”
Texas: The Longhorns committed a season-high 24 turnovers, but that didn’t matter. The taller Longhorns held a 47-24 rebounding advantage and the Big 12’s second-worst free-throw shooting team made 17 of 19.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers shot 16 of 60 (27%) from the floor and were held to their lowest scoring output of the season.
Texas returns home to face No. 23 TCU on Wednesday.
West Virginia plays Wednesday at Iowa State.
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AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball
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