Cornell’s late press isn’t enough as No. 19 West Virginia holds on for 68-62 victory

WVU Women's Basketball

Tynice Martin’s first quarter explosion helped the Mountaineers hang on late as they took a win over Cornell, 68-62.

West Virginia built a convincing lead in the first quarter, due mainly to Tynice Martin’s perfect shooting performance from the field. She sunk all four of her shot attempts — including a trio of three-pointers — to notch 11 points in the period. She finished with 19 on the day.

The Big Red offense struggled early as they made just 23.5 percent of its shots, including a slump which lasted nine straight missed field goal attempts.

Cornell came alive in the second period, going point-for-point with the Mountaineers. Unfortunately for the Big Red, it didn’t make up any ground — but Kate Sramac led the offense to keep her team in it into halftime.

The Big Red executed in the second half, and turned on its inside game. They out-rebounded the Mountaineers 39-34 and scored 38 points in the paint to West Virginia’s 30.

Cornell also turned on the press, which contributed to West Virginia giving up 13 turnovers in the second half.

“Nobody would come to the ball,” said WVU coach Mike Carey. “Poor Madisen [Smith, WVU point guard] was up there one-on-three and our other guards wouldn’t come to the ball and get open, they wouldn’t get out of line. So I don’t blame our point guard.”

Samantha Widmann took over the scoring load for Cornell in the second half, chipping 15 points in for the Big Red. She finished with 21 for the contest.

Much of the Mountaineers’ second half points came from Kysre Gondrezick and Kari Niblack, who combined for 16 points in the second half. They finished with 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Foul trouble would ultimately come to hurt Cornell, though, as three of its starters would foul out in the fourth quarter.

“This was just an eye-opener to show us that we’ve got to get ready for Big 12 play,” Gondrezick said. “Because with Kansas State [and the beginning of Big 12 play], the competition is completely different.”

With just days until the conference slate starts, Carey wasn’t particularly pleased with his team after the victory.

“They executed better than we did. We acted like we never saw a press before, a bunch of turnovers. We didn’t execute on either end,” he said. “We were just better, stronger, better athletes. That’s the only reason we won today.”

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