Kysre Gondrezick and Tynice Martin’s combined 39 points gave West Virginia the lift they needed against Iowa State as the Mountaineers got back on the winning track, 79-71.
Kari Niblack put West Virginia in the lead with a two-point jumper, sparking a 6-0 run out of the gate. From there, Martin and Gondrezick chipped in a combined 15 points to get the Mountaineers a 23-point first quarter and a 7-point lead.
The second quarter was much more of a group effort. Six different Mountaineers found the bottom of the net. Madisen Smith found her stroke in the second, getting all 5 of her first-half points in the period Much of their offense would come from their defense — the Mountaineers forced 4 Cyclone turnovers, 2 of which came from Kirsten Deans steals.
That defense pestered Big 12 leading scorer Ashley Joens, who was held to just 1 point in the first half. She finished the contest with 11.
West Virginia widened the gap in the third quarter behind a 7-point contribution from Martin, making all three of her attempted buckets including a three-pointer.
The WVU lead would get as high as 17 points in the final quarter, but that didn’t knock the Cyclones out. ISU went on a series of runs sparked by 6 fourth-quarter steals. The most damaging run for WVU was an 8-0 run by the Cyclones in the final minute, suddenly making it a two-possession contest.
“We made some mistakes, especially at the end there,” said WVU coach Mike Carey. “I don’t know what we were doing. We had a couple people throw it in, and they kept throwing it away. We’ll get that corrected.”
The two teams would trade fouls for the final minutes, making it a free throw battle. ISU took 11 of their 28 foul shots in the fourth quarter, making 8 of them. WVU, on the other hand, made all 7 of their free throws in the game in the final quarter.
The Mountaineers made it a point to win the inside battle. WVU out-rebounded the Cyclones 38 to 30 and scored 32 of their points in the paint. Blessing Ejiofor’s 10 rebounds were the key to this edge.
Along with her 21 points, Gondrezick also led the Mountaineers with 6 assists. Martin added 5 rebounds and 3 assists to her 18 points.
“It feels great, but now we have to get back on the road where we were beforehand,” Martin said. “I mean, this win means a lot to us. We’ve just gotta build on it now.”
In total, the Mountaineers assisted on 21 of their buckets.
“Like I told the team, probably what I’m most proud of is the effort today,” Carey said. “Even though we made a lot of mistakes, I loved the effort. And I love 21 assists, I love those two things.”
The Mountaineers will once again hit the road for their next contest to face Oklahoma on Wednesday. That game tips off at 8 p.m. ET.