WVU Women's Hoops Routs NJIT

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    Five players scored in double figures as the No. 25 West Virginia University women’s basketball team downed NJIT, 95-50, on Sunday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.

    Senior guard Katrina Pardee led all players in scoring with 22 points, including four 3-pointers. Redshirt junior guard Tynice Martin added 18 points, just missing a double-double with nine rebounds. Senior forward Naomi Davenport registered her seventh career double-double, finishing with 15 points and a team-best 13 boards. Freshman forward Kari Niblack had 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Theresa Ekhelar finished the afternoon with a career-high 11 points.

    Freshman guard Madisen Smith notched six assists and six points to go along with five rebounds.

    The Mountaineers (2-0) led by as much as 50 in the game as NJIT fell to 0-3 on the season.

    “I thought, in the first half, there was good intensity on defense,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “Then, in the second half they got tired, and we let them do anything they wanted. I thought the first half had good intensity getting to the ball, that type of stuff. I thought we ran a couple good fast breaks, but we’re still not getting out on the break like we can. We have four guards playing, I mean, we have to be out on the break a lot quicker than what we’re getting out there.”

    Though the Highlanders hit a three to get the scoring started, Davenport drained a 3-pointer then added two more on the fast break for a 5-3 WVU lead just over two minutes into the contest. Smith grabbed a steal and got the fast break layup, before Davenport added another on the fast break as the Mountaineers claimed an 11-5 advantage less than three minutes into the game.

    NJIT responded to a 3-pointer from Martin with a jumper, putting the score at 14-7 in favor of WVU. Soon after, West Virginia scored six straight as a fast-break jumper by Pardee made it a 13-point advantage at 22-9 with just under three to go in the frame. NJIT went 2-for-4 at the free-throw line, but Pardee capped the quarter with a 3-pointer from Smith as the Mountaineers led, 27-14.

    The Highlanders countered a Martin jumper with a triple, but Ekhelar added a pair of layups to stretch the WVU lead to 18 at 36-18. A pair of freshmen added to the lead, as Niblack sank a bucket before Smith scored on the fast break for a 40-18 advantage midway through the second quarter. Niblack made another layup before hitting the free-throw line for a pair as WVU capped the half with a 46-21 lead, limiting NJIT to just two field goals for the quarter.

    West Virginia scored five straight to start the third quarter. Martin hit a 3-pointer, then took a pair at the free-throw line to make it a 33-point lead at 58-25 with 5:37 to play in the frame. Following a trey from Pardee, Martin was back at it, using a layup and a jumper for a 65-25 Mountaineer advantage with just under four to go in the third.

    NJIT added a pair of 3-pointers, but West Virginia countered with a jumper from Pardee and a layup by Davenport. Ekhelar added another layup off a pass from Martin as they carried a 71-34 lead into the final period.

    The Mountaineers opened rode a 17-7 run to the midpoint of the fourth quarter. At the 2:04 mark, a Pardee layup stretched West Virginia’s lead to 50, its largest of the night. WVU outscored the Highlanders 19-16 in the final quarter of play.

    WVU finished 36-of-71 (50.1%) from the field and went 16-of-23 (69.6%) from the free throw line. As a team, West Virginia made seven 3-pointers and led in almost every statistical category, including having a 47-24 advantage in total rebound and a 16-3 edge in steals.

    Ellyn Stoll led the Highlanders with 14 points as NJIT shot 34 percent from the field with 25 turnovers, three steals and a block.

    West Virginia caps its three-game homestand on Thursday when the Mountaineers host Bryant in a special 10 a.m. tipoff as part of the Education Day celebration at the WVU Coliseum.

    Notes: Theresa Ekhelar finished with a new career high of 11 points …her previous career high was eight, set against Morgan State on Dec. 18, 2017… Naomi Davenport finished with a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds, marking her seventh career double-double… freshman Kari Niblack is the first true freshman to score in double figures since Tynice Martin did so against Ohio State on March 20, 2016… WVU scored 52 points in the paint… the Mountaineers forced 25 turnovers for the first time since Jan. 24, 2018, when Texas Tech finished with 30.

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