Martinez’s career day lifts West Virginia in rout of North Alabama

Gold and Blue Nation

West Virginia women’s basketball earned its third victory of the 2020-21 season after taking down North Alabama 80-51 in Morgantown on Thursday.

The Mountaineers got the victory behind a career game from Esmery Martinez, who scored 17 points and grabbed 22 rebounds — the sixth-highest single-game total in program history.

Martinez knocked out the first half of her double-double in the first quarter, notching 10 early points on 80 percent shooting. She finished the second leg in the next quarter, finishing the half with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Kysre Gondrezick hopped in the scoring party in the second quarter as well, making all three of her attempts from the field for 7 first-half points, including a three-pointer.

A big piece of WVU’s success in the first half was their dominance on the offensive boards. The Mounatineers grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and were able to turn those into 11 extra points.

Gondrezick and Martinez kept their dominance going into the second half, combining for 17 points in the final two quarters of play. Gondrezick finished the contest as WVU’s leading scorer with 20 points.

WVU also received contributions on the scoreboard from Kari Niblack (9 points), Madisen Smith (8 points) and KK Deans (7 points).

Ball movement was a struggle for WVU in this contest. The Mountaineers assisted on 21 buckets but gave up 18 turnovers. That stat is a point of emphasis for West Virginia before they host Tennessee on Sunday.

West Virginia’s win gives the Mountaineers to 3-0 on the season, and is their first victory at home. Tip-off against the Lady Vols on Sunday is at 2 p.m., and the contest will be shown on ESPN+.

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