Enemkpali leads No. 3 Texas women over West Virginia 61-55
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) The wins keep coming for No. 3 Texas at a rate not seen in a long, long time.
Nneka Enemkpali had 11 points and 12 rebounds, and the Longhorns stayed unbeaten with a tough 61-55 win over West Virginia on Wednesday night.
Texas (13-0, 2-0 Big 12) is off to its best start since the 1985-86 team went undefeated and won the school's lone national championship. The 2-0 start in the Big 12 is the team's best since 2003-04, when Texas won its last Big 12 title.
But nothing about this one was easy. A 14-point lead dwindled to four and the Longhorns had to withstand another big night from West Virginia's Bria Holmes, the preseason Big 12 player of the year.
''That's the defending Big 12 champion over there. We knew it was going to be a dogfight,'' Texas coach Karen Aston said.
Holmes scored 22 for West Virginia (10-4, 0-2), which won a share of the league crown last season but is off to a rough start - with No. 5 Baylor up next.
''We lost five seniors. The same team is not walking through the locker room,'' West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. ''Texas has the numbers I could play last year, 10 or 11. This year I can play about six (players).''
Enemkpali, the Big 12 rebounding leader, had her seventh consecutive double-double, breaking her school record of six. Four other Longhorns scored at least eight points in a balanced offensive attack.
The Longhorns looked in complete control in the first half with a 24-10 lead. But 11 Texas turnovers in the half and a 16-8 run pulled the Mountaineers to 32-26 by halftime. Teana Muldrow started the West Virginia rally with a 3-pointer.
Kelsey Lang pushed Texas' lead to nine early in the second before West Virginia pushed back behind Holmes. She barely beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer that pulled the Mountaineers to 47-42. But given two chances to shave the lead further, a turnover by Tyara Warren and a missed 3-pointer by Holmes kept the rally at bay.
Enemkpali had consecutive blocks, and a layup by Brady Sanders increased the Texas lead back to eight with just under five minutes left. A late layup by Enemkpali made it 61-51.
''It seems as though at times we are playing not to lose,'' Aston said. ''I don't want us to play like that. We are a free-flowing team. When we are having fun, we are playing free.''
West Virginia: Holmes, the league's second-leading scorer, has 1,010 career points, making her the 31st Mountaineers player to pass the 1,000-point milestone. ... The Mountaineers were 3 of 19 on 3-pointers.
Texas: West Virginia kept it closer than anyone else on Texas' home court this season. The Longhorns won their first nine home games by an average of more than 26 points. ... The Longhorns played without reserve guard Brianna Taylor, out indefinitely with a bruised left knee. She had been averaging seven points and five rebounds.
Texas has a deep rotation that's keeping players fresh. Sanders was the only Longhorns player on the court for more than 30 minutes. For West Virginia, Linda Stepny played 40 minutes and Holmes played 39.
''We got tired,'' Carey said. ''We don't have substitutions. It's going to be the same thing all year.''
Texas won despite some sloppy offense at times. The Longhorns had 17 turnovers, shot 2 of 9 on 3-pointers and went 11 for 20 on free throws.
West Virginia hosts No. 5 Baylor on Saturday.
Texas visits Iowa State.