WVU Women Even Big 12 Record With Win Over Iowa State

WVU Women Even Big 12 Record With Win Over Iowa State

The West Virginia University women’s basketball team earned a bounce-back victory on Sunday afternoon, after the Mountaineers defeated Iowa State, 79-71, at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.

“Like I told the team, probably what I’m most proud of is the effort today,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “Even though we made a lot of mistakes, I love the effort, and I love 21 assists. I love those two things.”

West Virginia forward Lari Niblack (14) shoots over Iowa State's Madison Wise (1)
West Virginia forward Lari Niblack (14) shoots over Iowa State’s Madison Wise (1)

West Virginia’s scoring was led by redshirt junior guard Kysre Gondrezick, with 21 points. It marked her ninth 20-point game of the season and the 10th of her career. Redshirt senior guard Tynice Martin (18 points) and freshman forward Esmery Martinez (12 points) also finished in double-figure scoring. Junior center Blessing Ejiofor led the Mountaineers with 10 rebounds.

The Mountaineers (14-5, 4-4 Big 12) opened the game on a 6-0 run, with sophomore forward Kari Niblack, Gondrezick and Martin all posting scores for WVU. Iowa State (12-8, 4-5 Big 12) responded with four points, before Martinez scored from the top of the key to keep the Cyclones at bay. Martin then added a triple and a score from the foul line, but Iowa State kept the game close. WVU led 13-9 at the first media timeout.

Gondrezick scored a pair of 3-pointers following the timeout to give the Mountaineers a nine-point lead. Iowa State added a free throw and two triples of their own to close the gap, but Ejiofor quieted the Cyclones’ run with a layup. Niblack added a baseline jumper to give WVU a seven-point lead, as WVU headed to the second quarter with a 23-16 lead.

WVU struck first in the second quarter as Niblack scored under the basket and just outside the paint to stretch the Mountaineer lead. Iowa State countered with its fifth 3-pointer of the game and four free throws to cut WVU’s lead to four points. Martin halted the ISU scoring run with a jumper from the top of the arc and a fast-break layup. Freshman guard Kirsten Deans scored through contact as the Mountaineers led Iowa State, 33-25, at the second media timeout.

Coming out of the break, senior guard Lucky Rudd scored on a straight-line drive after Iowa State converted a pair of free throws. Gondrezick converted on a second-chance layup and sophomore guard Madisen Smith added a pair of scores to give WVU a nine-point lead. West Virginia forced three Iowa State turnovers following the media timeout and led the Cyclones, 42-33, at halftime.

Both teams experienced a slow start to the second half, but Iowa State struck first with a pair of free throws. Martinez provided the response for WVU, scoring underneath the basket and forcing the Cyclones to call a timeout with the Mountaineers in front by 11 points. Martinez scored again following the timeout and Gondrezick added a runner with six minutes remaining in the third quarter to give WVU a 15-point lead. Iowa State responded with a triple, but Martinez score once more, as West Virginia led Iowa State 52-38 at the media timeout.

Martin and Martinez added a pair of scores to stretch the lead for WVU. Iowa State countered with two triples and a fast-break score to cut the Mountaineer lead to 10. But the West Virginia offense continued to produce, as Martin and Rudd connected on a trio of scores to give WVU a 17-point lead at the end of the third quarter.

Iowa State began the fourth quarter on 7-2, with the Mountaineers’ only score coming on a layup by Martinez. However, a pair of free throws and a layup by Gondrezick helped West Virginia get back to a 16-point lead with four minutes remaining. ISU continued to carve into the Mountaineer lead over the final four minutes, but WVU sank six free throws to put the game away and secure the 79-71 victory.

West Virginia shot 33-of-66 (50.0%) from the field, made five 3-pointers and dished out a season-high 21 assists. WVU held the advantage in points in the pain (32-18) and second-chance points (8-6). The Mountaineers out-rebounded the Cyclones, 38-30, and forced 18 turnovers.

Iowa State finished 21-of-51 (41.2%) from the field, including 10-of-27 (37.0%) from 3-point range. ISU’s scoring effort was led by center Kristin Scott, who finished with 16 points. Forward Ines Nezerwa led Iowa State on the glass, with eight rebounds.

West Virginia travels to Norman, Oklahoma, on Wednesday, Feb. 5, as the Mountaineers get set for a rematch against Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Mountaineers, 73-49, inside the WVU Coliseum on Jan. 15. Wednesday’s opening tip at OU is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports Oklahoma and the FOX Sports GO app.

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