West Virginia's Lauren Fields sets program record, Mountaineers advance to Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinals

WVU topples Cincinnati 70-55 to keep conference title hopes alive.
\ / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Things started off quickly for West Virginia fifth-year guard Lauren Fields during Friday night's second round nightcap at the Big 12 Women's Basketball Tournament.

As No. 6 seed WVU (24-6, 12-6) faced off against No. 11 seed Cincinnati (14-17, 5-13) inside the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Fields made the first move of the game on the opening defensive possession for her team, grabbing her first steal of the night.

She would tally a total of six takeaways by the end of the night, which stands as a program record in Big 12 Tournament play.

When the Mountaineers began to trail early on, it was Fields' second steal of the evening which led to her nailing a three-point bucket to put WVU back in the lead. They would ride that momentum to a 20-7 lead before the first quarter even ran out.

The game never really was close after that. By the final buzzer, WVU had secured an easy 70-55 victory.

Fields' impact was clear to all as she paced a defense that forced 23 total turnovers and held the Bearcats to just 40.4% from the field. Her hard-nosed effort on the defensive end of the court is nothing new, and is a trait WVU Head Coach Mark Kellogg praised her for in a pre-season interview with The Dominion Post.

"She’s a phenomenal defender," Kellogg told the Post. "She is active, active, active on the defensive end. She’s pretty complete right now.”

Offensively, it was a player normally known for her defense sparking WVU as All-Big 12 First Team Selection and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Quinerly tallied 18 points. She was joined by Jordan Harrison, Kyah Watson, and Jayla Hemingway with double-digit performances in the score column.

WVU advances to the quarterfinal round of the tournament to do battle with No. 3 seed Kansas State, with tip-off scheduled for Saturday, March 8 at 9 p.m. ET. In the previous meeting between the two teams this season, Kansas State ran away to a 73-64 overtime victory after a Mountaineer comeback forced the extra five minutes.