WVU Women Complete Non-Conference Schedule With Win Over Cornell
The No. 19/21 West Virginia University women’s basketball team concluded non-conference play by defeating Cornell, 68-62, on Tuesday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.
Redshirt senior guard Tynice Martin led the Mountaineers (10-1) in scoring, with 19 points, and was one of three players to score in double figures. Redshirt junior guard Kysre Gondrezick (14 points) and sophomore forward Kari Niblack (10 points) also finished with 10 or more points. Martin and Niblack tied for the team lead in rebounding with six apiece.
“They (Cornell) executed better than we did,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “We acted like we had never seen a press before with a bunch of turnovers. We didn’t execute on either end. We’re just better and bigger, stronger athletes. That’s the only reason we won today.”
Martin led the Mountaineers in the opening minutes of the first quarter , as she scored a pair of 3-pointers and added a layup to record WVU’s first six points of the game. Gondrezick then scored on a fast-break layup off an assist from sophomore guard Madisen Smith. Gondrezick then added a trey, as the Mountaineers entered the first media timeout with a six-point lead.
Coming out of the media timeout, Martin struck again from 3-point range to stretch the Mountaineer lead. Both teams went scoreless from the field over the next three minutes before freshman forward Esmery Martinez stole the ball from Cornell guard Danielle Jorgenson and scored on a fast break. Freshman guard Kirsten Deans added a layup as the first quarter ended, and WVU led by 12.
Junior center Blessing Ejiofor opened second-quarter scoring with a jumper in the paint, before Niblack scored under the basket to give WVU a 16-point lead. Martin tacked on her fourth 3-pointer of the game with 7:18 left in the half. Cornell cut into the deficit over the next three minutes, before Martinez snuffed out the Big Red scoring run, adding a layup with four minutes remaining in the first half. Martinez quickly scored again just 45 seconds later to give WVU a 15-point lead. Cornell responded over the final two minutes of the half, but a pair of scores from redshirt sophomore center Jada Wright and Deans kept CU in check. The Mountaineers led Cornell 37-25 at halftime.
Cornell scored three times to open the second half, including a 3-pointer, to cut WVU’s lead back to single digits. Smith hit a jumper at the top of the arc just before the Mountaineers called a timeout at the 7:42 mark. Ejiofor scored a second-chance layup with 6:52 remaining, but the Big Red added six points over the next two minutes.
Martin halted the scoring run just before the third quarter media timeout, but Cornell responded with a bucket of its own to keep WVU’s lead at one. Coming out of the media timeout, the Mountaineers responded by scoring 10 points over the final five minutes of the third, including a pair of jumpers from Martin and Gondrezick. West Virginia headed to the fourth quarter with a 53-46 lead.
Niblack opened the scoring in the final quarter with back-to-back jumpers, followed by a triple from Gondrezick. Cornell scored on two consecutive layups, then added a 3-pointer to cut WVU’s lead to three. Niblack and Deans responded with putback layups from under the basket. With WVU ahead 64-57, the Big Red sent WVU to the foul line three times in the final minutes to stop the clock, but the Mountaineers ultimately walked away with the win.
The final numbers showed WVU shooting 48.1 percent (26-of-54) from the field and 45.5 percent (6-of-19) from beyond the arc. The Mountaineers’ bench outscored Cornell 19-8, but the Big Red outrebounded WVU 39-34.
Cornell shot an even 40 percent (26-of-65) from the field and 25 percent (4-of-16) from 3-point range. Samantha Widmann led the Big Red in scoring, adding 21 points, and was one of three CU players to finish in double figures.
West Virginia opens Big 12 conference play on Sunday, Jan. 5, as the Mountaineers travel to Manhattan, Kansas, to take on Kansas State. Opening tip is set for 1 p.m. ET. WVU then travels to Lawrence, Kansas, on Wednesday, Jan. 8, to take on Kansas at 8 p.m.