WVU women to face Elon in NCAA first round

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University women’s basketball team will be the No. 6-seed in the NCAA Championship College Park, Maryland, site after earning the automatic bid by winning the 2017 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship last week.

The Mountaineers will face No. 11-seed Elon on Friday, March 17, in College Park, Maryland. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET at the Xfinity Center.

The Mountaineers (23-10, 8-10) are making their 12th overall NCAA Championship appearance and the 10th under 16th-year head coach Mike Carey. WVU has reached the NCAA Tournament in nine of the last 11 years and has participated in the postseason for a school-record 11 consecutive years.

“We had no idea where we would go,” said Carey. “We were told we may host, to we may go to the west coast to south to now Maryland. It was a surprise for us just like everybody else. At least it is close and we should have no trouble getting there.”

West Virginia won its first Big 12 Championship title after making a historic run last week. The sixth-seeded Mountaineers toppled No. 3-seed Oklahoma (82-58), No. 2-seed Texas (62-59) and No. 1-seed Baylor (77-66) to win their first conference title since claiming the Atlantic 10 Tournament crown in 1989. The Mountaineers’ victory snapped a 20-game conference tournament win streak for the then-ranked No. 2 Lady Bears. WVU became only the second No. 6 seed in Big 12 Tournament history to win the championship.

Sophomore guard Tynice Martin was named the Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player after scoring 82 points and 12 rebounds in three days. Martin’s 32 points set a Big 12 Championship game-record, surpassing the 31 points Baylor’s Brittney Griner scored. Martin’s 82 points were third-most ever scored in a Big 12 Championship.

The Mountaineer Ticket Office will not have any tickets available to sell to the general public. Fans, including WVU women’s basketball season ticket holders and MAC members, interested in attending the game are encouraged to purchase tickets through UMTerps.com.

All-session reserved tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for seniors and youth, while general admission tickets are $15. Single-session tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for general admission and $10 for groups of 15 or more. Those with questions may contact the Maryland Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-IM-A-TERP between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Friday’s WVU-Elon winner will play the victor of the No. 3-seed Maryland vs. No. 14-seed Bucknell on Sunday, March 20, with a time to be determined. The first and second round winners will advance to the Bridgeport regional. Friday’s game is televised regionally on ESPN2. ESPN3 and ESPN FULL COURT, the pay-per-view package, will offer first and second round games in their entirety as a supplement to ESPN and ESPN2’s coverage.

West Virginia and Elon meet for the fifth time. The Mountaineers hold a 4-0 series advantage over the Phoenix in a series which began in 2011. In their last meeting, WVU defeated Elon, 67-57 on December 28, 2015. Elon has won 14 of its last 15 games, including eight straight. The Phoenix won the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament with a 78-60 win over James Madison.

“We played them last year,” said Carey. “I looked at their schedule. Duke only beat them by six. They played against some top-notch teams and they won their last eight games during the season. I don’t know a lot about them. I looked at their record and their nonconference schedule. They played a lot of good teams.”

Martin leads the Mountaineers and the Big 12 with 18.6 points per game. Junior guard Teana Muldrow, who earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team honors last week, is second on the team with 14.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Lanay Montgomery continues to average 10.7 points per game and is the team leader with 8.9 rebounds per game. Montgomery’s 68.0 field goal percentage (149-of-219) is tops in the Big 12 Conference. Chania Ray also leads the league with 6.0 assists per game.

Friday’s game will be aired in its entirety in the West Virginia region on ESPN2. It will also be available on ESPN3 and ESPN FULL COURT.

* The West Virginia University women’s basketball team was ranked No. 22 in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll and is No. 21 in the latest USA TODAY Sports Coaches Top 25 Poll released on Monday.

The Mountaineers (23-10, 8-10) returned to the AP poll after claiming the 2017 Big 12 Tournament Championship as the No. 6-seed in the tourney. West Virginia downed No. 19 Oklahoma (82-58) and No. 14 Texas (62-59) to advance to the Big 12 Championship game last Monday. The Mountaineers stunned then-ranked No. 2 Baylor in a 77-66 upset to win the 2017 Big 12 Tournament title.

WVU earned 131 votes in this week’s AP poll and 144 votes in the coaches’ poll. Other Big 12 teams in the rankings include No. 5/5 Baylor (719/671), No. 14/15 Texas (408/358), No. 23/20 Oklahoma (126/148) and No. 24/RV Kansas State (59/9).

West Virginia won its second conference title and it’s first ever Big 12 Championship. The Mountaineers will make their 12th NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017, with 10 of those coming under coach Mike Carey.

Keep up with West Virginia women’s basketball on Instagram and Twitter by following @WVUWBB.­­­

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