The West Virginia University women’s basketball team fell to Iowa State on Saturday afternoon, 61-58, at Hilton Coliseum, in Ames.
A trio of Mountaineers netted double-digits, with sophomore guard Madisen Smith leading all WVU scorers with 17 points. Sophomore forward Kari Niblack scored 15, followed by freshman forward Esmery Martinez with 12. Niblack also led the way in rebounding, grabbing 14 boards, to register her fifth double-double of the season.
Iowa State recorded a 3-pointer to start the game, but Niblack converted on three consecutive scores to help WVU take its first lead. The Cyclones responded with a score to cut the Mountaineers’ lead to one point. Smith nailed a triple just before the first media timeout, as the Mountaineers led by two with 4:34 remaining in the first quarter.
Iowa State scored five points coming out of the break, but West Virginia countered with a pair of jump shots from Martinez to hold the lead. The two teams traded a pair of free throws, before Martinez converted two more scores to get her into double figures. The Cyclones tacked on one more free throw before the quarter ended. West Virginia led by four at the end of the first.
Niblack sank a jumper in the paint to get WVU on the board in the second quarter. Iowa State then tacked on four points to cut into the Mountaineers’ lead, but WVU converted a pair of 3-pointers from redshirt junior guard Kysre Gondrezick and Smith to get its lead back to five at the second media timeout.
West Virginia took a seven-point lead following the break on a layup from Niblack, but the Cyclones countered with a triple. Niblack scored once more fast break to stretch WVU’s lead to six with just over two minutes to play in the half. Following a timeout by the Mountaineers, Iowa State scored in the closing seconds of the second quarter. WVU led ISU, 33-29, at the end of the first half.
The Cyclones struck first in the second half, after both teams were scoreless over the first minute of the third quarter. West Virginia responded with six points, including a 3-pointer from Martin. Iowa State was forced to call a timeout with seven minutes remaining in the quarter. Iowa State scored seven unanswered points following the break to tie the game, but the Mountaineers fired back with a score from junior center Blessing Ejiofor and a triple from Smith. WVU led by five at the media timeout. The two teams traded baskets over the final four minutes of the quarter, but a trio of scores from freshman guard Kirsten Deans, Martinez and Smith helped WVU take a three-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Iowa State scored a pair of layups to begin the fourth quarter and forced West Virginia to call a timeout with 7:15 remaining in the game, as the Cyclones took a one-point lead. ISU scored once more after the break, but WVU added back-to-back scores to retake the lead. Four Cyclone free throws swung the advantage back in Iowa State’s favor with less than three minutes to play.
Smith countered with a pair of jumpers to take a one-point lead over Iowa State and force the Cyclones to call a timeout with 1:22 remaining in the game. ISU then hit four free throws over the final 20 seconds to seal the win.
West Virginia next competes on Wednesday, March 4, as the Mountaineers travel to Lubbock, Texas, to battle with Texas Tech. Opening tip against the Lady Raiders is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET at the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock.