A clutch offensive rebound in the fourth quarter turned an Oklahoma State missed free throw into a go-ahead four-point play for the Cowgirls as No. 25 West Virginia lost their third straight contest, 57-55.
West Virginia jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter behind a seemingly improved shooting performance from the field led by Kysre Gondrezick. The guard propelled the Mountaineers in front by scoring 8 straight points on the back end of a 10-0 WVU run.
The Mountaineers held on to their lead for halftime, but the Cowgirls started to take some control back behind Vivian Gray who logged 10 points in the first half. That wouldn’t be enough to take the lead, though, as West Virginia took a 6-point halftime lead into the locker room.
West Virginia didn’t stay in front for long. Gray followed her big first half up with a 10-point third quarter to push Oklahoma State to a narrow lead with some help from forward Bigue Sarr. The Mountaineers went cold in the third shooting just 33.3 percent, while no player made more than a single field goal. Gondrezick went especially cold, missing all three of her attempts.
The Cowgirls entered the fourth quarter with a one-point lead, setting up an exciting fourth quarter. The two squads fought tooth-and-nail for the lead, trading shot-for-shot until the final minute. The game would get tilted when OSU’s Ja’Mee Asberry went to the line and converted a four-point play when her team grabbed her missed second free throw, allowing her to nail a go-ahead three-pointer. West Virginia was down by a point with the final possession, but both Gondrezick and Tynice Martin would miss potential go-ahead buckets.
The Mountaineers out-rebounded Oklahoma State by a single board, but were hurt badly by the 14 offensive rebounds they allowed the Cowgirls to get like the one at the end. That number perplexed WVU coach Mike Carey.
“I don’t know. I don’t know why we have no energy,” he said. “I don’t know why. I’ve gotta find out why, I’ve gotta find out something.”
Neither of West Virginia’s top scorers could get out of their shooting slumps, as Gondrezick finished with 11 points and Martin with 9. They combined to shoot 26.9 percent from the floor. Sophomore forward Kari Niblack finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds.
“If you’re not hitting your shots, usually you pick up your defense, get to the rim, get fouled and all that,” Carey said. “We’re just standing out– we’re not doing anything. Not blocking out, not– I don’t know.”
Gray finished with 22 points, leading all scorers. Asberry, who made the go-ahead four-point play, wasn’t far behind with 16 points.
Next up, the Mountaineers travel to Texas to face TCU on Sunday. That tips off at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.