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NCAA Tournament 2017: Maryland women’s basketball vs. West Virginia preview

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The Terps and Mountaineers collide in the second round.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-West Virginia vs Baylor Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after Maryland women’s basketball decimated Bucknell in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, West Virginia earned a chance to play the No. 3-seed Terps in the second round.

The No. 6-seed Mountaineers beat No. 11 Elon, 75-62, in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader in College Park. The Phoenix kept it close for three quarters, but Mike Carey’s team pulled away in the fourth.

West Virginia went 20-10 in the regular season and finished sixth in the Big 12 with an 8-10 conference record. But the Mountaineers made one of the most impressive runs of the year in their conference tournament, knocking off Oklahoma, Texas and Baylor in successive days for the title.

Sunday’s game will tip off at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

West Virginia Mountaineers (24-10)

Head coach: Mike Carey is in his 16th year with the program. He’s won 346 games and three conference coach of the year honors (two in the Big East, one in the Big 12).

Players to know

Tynice Martin, sophomore, guard, 5’10, No. 5. Martin is the team’s leading scorer with 18.9 points per game, and she’s taken over lately. During the Mountaineers’ Big 12 Tournament run, she scored 82 points in three games (27.3 ppg). Against Elon, she tallied 26 points, but shot just 7-of-24 from the field. She shoots just 40 percent on average, but can be dangerous when she heats up.

Teana Muldrow, junior, forward, 6’1, No. 11. Averages 14.5 points and 8.6 boards, and tossed up 8 and 10 in the first round. She can play both inside and out, which can make for an interesting matchup.

Lanay Montgomery, senior, center, 6’5, No. 15. The program’s fourth-leading rebounder all-time hauls in 8.9 per game, and also averages 10.8 points. The senior will be West Virginia’s answer to Brionna Jones down low; she’ll need to hold her own and stay out of foul trouble to keep her team in it.

Katrina Pardee, sophomore, guard, 5’9, No. 22. Pardee scored 14 points Friday thanks to 4-of-5 shooting from downtown. That brought her up to a team-high 39.3 percent from long range this season.

Chania Ray, junior, guard, 5’8, No. 12. The Florida State transfer has started every game this year at point guard, and she leads the Mountaineers with 5.9 assists per game. She and Martin are the team’s minutes leaders by a considerable margin, with both averaging over 34 minutes on the floor.

Strength

Rim protection. West Virginia ranks 10th nationally with nearly six blocks per game. Montgomery accounts for most of that, swatting nearly three shots herself, but Muldrow and backup Kristina King both have over 20 blocks this season. However, it’s worth noting that they didn’t block a single shot against Elon.

Weakness

Turnovers. This team averaged 17.3 giveaways in Big 12 play and had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio. Given how effective Maryland’s press was against Bucknell, the Terps could make it a long day for West Virginia’s offense.

Prediction

Maryland wins, 82-71.