The West Virginia University women’s basketball team (14-7, 4-6 Big 12) led early, but couldn’t come away with a win, as it suffered a 60-57 loss to Oklahoma State, on Saturday afternoon, inside Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
A pair of Mountaineers scored in double figures in the loss, as redshirt junior guard Kysre Gondrezick netted 13 points, and sophomore forward Kari Niblack added 12 points to go along with seven rebounds. Redshirt senior guard Tynice Martin led the Mountaineers on the glass, collecting eight rebounds and seven points.
West Virginia opened the game on a 7-0 run, shooting 3-of-3 from the floor. Niblack scored on a baseline drive, while Gondrezick added a 3-pointer and a layup, forcing Oklahoma State to call a timeout early. OSU responded following the break with a fast-break score, but WVU countered with another triple from Gondrezick.
Following a two-minute scoring drought from both teams, the Cowgirls cut back into WVU’s lead with two scores in the paint. West Virginia did not score for the next three minutes, but freshman guard Kirsten Deans ended the scoring drought with a free throw. Oklahoma State scored once outside the paint just before the quarter ended, but WVU led 11-8 heading to the second quarter.
The Mountaineer offense got going again to start the second quarter, as Deans and redshirt freshman center Rochelle Norris scored twice and Gondrezick added another score to give WVU an 11-point lead with just over six minutes remaining in the half. The Cowgirls then countered the Mountaineers’ offensive flurry over the final six minutes of the half. West Virginia scored twice over that stretch on a jumper from Deans and free throw from Niblack, but WVU still led by a score of 24-23 at halftime.
OSU tied the game with a free throw just 45 seconds into the second half, but West Virginia reclaimed the lead with a pair of its own free throws. The two traded shots over the next minute, but the Mountaineers maintained a one-point lead. A pair of scores from Martin and Niblack helped WVU lead by three at the third-quarter media timeout.
Following a pair of scores from Oklahoma State, West Virginia used a trio of free throws from Niblack and a second-chance layup from freshman forward Esmery Martinez to take a four-point lead with just over a minute remaining in the quarter. OSU attempted to cut back into the Mountaineers’ lead with four more points at the line, but senior guard Lucky Rudd scored off a scrum to keep West Virginia out in front, 41-39, at the start of the fourth quarter.
Rudd opened the fourth with a trey, but OSU responded on the other end with a jumper and a layup to shorten the deficit to one. However, West Virginia fought back with a 3-pointer from Gondrezick and a layup from Niblack. WVU and OSU then traded a pair of triples, as Martin followed a Cowgirl 3 with one of her own. The two teams traded buckets down the stretch, as the Mountaineers’ lead was kept below five points. Ejiofor then buried a jumper at the 1:31 mark to put WVU up by four.
In the final minute of play, the Cowgirls connected on a pair of layups and two free throws to move in front of West Virginia, 58-56. Martin then fouled OSU to stop the clock, allowing the Cowgirls to tack on two more from the foul line. Martinez added a foul shot at the 0:04 mark, but it wasn’t enough, as the Mountaineers fell, 60-57.
The Mountaineers finished the game shooting 35.5 percent (22-of-62) from the floor and 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from 3-point range. Despite the loss, West Virginia edged Oklahoma State in rebounding (51-36), bench points (21-5) and points in the paint (28-20).
Oklahoma State ended the contest shooting 33.3 percent (20-of-60) from the field and just 30 percent (3-of-10) from beyond the arc. The Cowgirls forced 21 Mountaineer turnovers, scoring 15 points off turnovers. OSU also tallied eight blocks in the contest.
West Virginia returns to Morgantown on Tuesday, Feb. 11, for a 7 p.m. ET, contest against Kansas State inside the WVU Coliseum. Tuesday’s game is WVU Faculty and Staff Night, as WVU employees with a valid employee I.D. can receive free admission. The game against KSU also is WVU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee night, as well as Happy Hour at concessions stands inside the WVU Coliseum. A live stream of the contest is available at WVUSports.com.