After another 20-point effort from redshirt junior guard Kysre Gondrezick, the West Virginia University women’s basketball team captured a 56-40 victory over Presbyterian on Sunday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.
Gondrezick tallied 20 points to lead all scorers and connected on four 3-pointers to record her second consecutive game with 20 or more points. Freshman forward Esmery Martinez added a career-high 11 boards, while sophomore guard Madisen Smith dished out five assists.
“I told our players that I thought defensively, at times, we did pretty well,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “They were spreading us and all of that. Offensively, we were just terrible. We were just terrible offensively. (We had) no efficiency on offense. Every time we threw it inside, we turned it over. They were doubling down, so it was good to see. We really have to work with our posts on doubling down, being more aggressive and also being more patient when they double down there. There are a lot of things we can work on, but I thought at stretches our defense was pretty good.”
Smith hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring, followed by a layup from freshman center Blessing Ejiofor to give the Mountianeers a 5-0 advantage through the first three minutes. The two teams traded missed shots on either end, until sophomore forward Kari Niblack grabbed a layup and two at the line to give the Mountaineers a 9-4 lead with 4:54 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Mountaineers and the Blue Hose tallied several fouls in the remainder of the quarter, but neither team could convert at the line until junior guard Arleighshya McElroy added a pair of free throws for an 11-4 WVU lead at the end of the first frame.
WVU’s offense was quiet until mid-way through the second quarter when freshman guard Kirsten Deans conntected on a jumper. Gondrezick added a trey with the shot clock winding down to extend the Mountaineer lead to 16-10. After almost three minutes without a basket for either team, Gondrezick added two more for WVU on a fast break layup at the 3:46 mark.
In the final minutes of the opening half, back-to-back jumpers from Gondrezick sparked a 10-5 Mountaineer scoring run to give WVU a 26-15 lead into the locker room.
The Mountaineer offense opened the second half strong, led by a short jumper from Niblack and a layup from Martinez. Senior guard Lucky Rudd then drained a trey to give WVU a 13-point advantage at 33-20. Gondrezick added two more 3-pointers to enter double figures for the second straight game.
Smith was then fouled on a fast break and hit 1-of-2 at the line to make the score 40-26 with 2:44 left in the third quarter. The sophomore guard hit a short jumper as time expired to give WVU a 44-28 lead entering the final frame.
Martinez and McElroy added back-to-back layups to open the fourth quarter, before redshirt freshman center Rochelle Norris picked up her first points of the game with an easy layup at the 6:16 mark. Gondrezick next added her fourth trey of the day, extending the Mountaineer lead to 53-30.
A Presbyterian miss and a defensive rebound from Niblack led to Smith’s second 3-pointer of the afternoon with 4:16 left to play. The Blue Hose put up a strong offensive fight in the final four minutes, assisted by some Mountaineer miscues, but WVU ultimately came away with the win to move to 2-0 on the season.
The Mountaineers finished 21-of-55 (38.2 percent) from the field and connected on seven 3-pointers to go 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from beyond the arch. The WVU bench also added 16 points in the contest.
WVU never trailed in the contest, but the Blue Hose was able to score 16 points off the Mountaineers’ 26 turnovers. Presbyterian shot 12-of-49 (24.5 percent) from the field and connected on 11 of 14 free throw attempts to shoot 78.6 percent at the line.
After a week away from competition, WVU travels to Beckley on Sunday, Nov. 15, to host Radford. Tipoff at the Beckley-Raleigh Convention Center is tabbed for 2 p.m. ET.