February 21, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) After struggling in their last two games, the Texas Longhorns showed why they are one of the top teams in the country.

Brooke McCarty scored 18 points and No. 8 Texas handed West Virginia its worst defeat of the season, 73-50 on Sunday. The Longhorns were coming of a loss at Oklahoma and a win over Kansas State where they had to rally for the viftory.

Imani Boyette had 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for Texas (24-2, 13-2 Big 12). Ariel Atkins scored 10 points.

With the victory, Texas assured itself of no worse than the No. 2 seed for the Big 12 tournament and its best conference regular season record since 2004-05.

Coach Karen Aston said things weren't right even before the games against Oklahoma and Kansas State.

''For quite some time we've been trying to find our energy and our personality,'' Aston said. ''I definitely think we found it today. It's a great team. I really think we are.''

Tynice Martin led West Virginia (20-8, 9-6) with 12 points, two more than Chania Ray. Bria Holmes scored six points, nearly 11 fewer than her team-best average. She hit just 2 of 11 shots.

West Virginia coach Mike Carey said he was surprised by the lop-sided defeat.

''This was the worst defense we've played all year,'' Carey said. ''Texas did what they had to do for this to happen.''

Texas trailed by seven early before overwhelming the Mountaineers with a 27-11 run in the second quarter for a 42-27 halftime lead.

McCarty had 11 of her 16 first-half points in that second period, and Boyette scored six in the quarter. Even when McCarty made a misstep late in the half, fouling Ray on a 3-point attempt - she converted all three free throws - the Longhorns guard came right back and made a 3.

But McCarty, who shot 8 for 13, inflicted most of her damage by driving to the basket for layups.

''That was the game plan,'' McCarty said. ''(Coaches) told us that the driving lanes would be open.''

Texas made a 14-0 push in the third quarter, finishing with a 60-36 lead. Reserve guard Brady Sanders provided a boost by converting consecutive 3-point attempts.

Before Sunday, the 6-foot-7 Boyette went through a period of five games in which she hit 10 of 34 shots. She went 5 for 11 against West Virginia. Boyette said she was frustrated recently, but not by her lack of production on offense.

''I think my role is being a defensive stopper, and people were scoring on me,'' she said.

Now Boyette and the Longhorns feel better about themselves.

''It's not something to over analyze when you've been fairly consistent the entire year,'' Aston said. ''It's not like we've been on a roller coaster all year.''

TIP-INS

West Virginia: The Mountaineers rank sixth nationally in field goal accuracy allowed (33.6 percent). Texas hit 48.4 percent. . The six points senior guard Bria Holmes scored against Texas left her 46 short of reaching 500 in a season for third time in her career. No West Virginia player ever has accomplished that.

Texas: Coach Karen Aston deploys 10 or more players most games, none of whom average more than 12.3 points a game. Eight players have led the team in scoring at least once. . Texas swept the two-game series for the first time in the four seasons since West Virginia joined the Big 12.

PAGE RETURNS

Texas, which this season became the fifth women's basketball program in the country to win 1,000 games, is celebrating by introducing the three coaches who preceded current coach Karen Aston. On Sunday, the school honored Rod Page, who coached the Longhorns for the program's first two seasons, 1974-75 and 1975-76, before he was fired by women's athletics director Donna Lopiano. Page's replacement, Jody Conradt, had a Hall of Fame career. Page, initially angry about losing his job, became a teacher and high school coach. He rarely attended Texas women's games. ''It takes time, but I've long since made peace with it,'' Page, 67, said. ''I'm happy for the success of UT women's basketball. It's good to be back.''

UP NEXT

West Virginia hosts TCU on Wednesday.

Texas is at Texas Tech on Wednesday.

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