A 12-point deficit was not too much for the Oklahoma Sooners as they stormed back to end No. 19 West Virginia’s 11-game win streak, 72-71.
Turnovers were the killer for West Virginia, as they gave up 20 throughout the game. They were especially deadly in the fourth quarter, as the Sooners forced seven from WVU in the midst of a 15-point run.
“We were just not focused, careless with the ball, turning the ball over, all ownership,” said WVU guard Kysre Gondrezick. “They didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves.”
After trading the lead with Oklahoma to start out the contest, West Virginia ended the quarter on an 8-0 run to swing in front of the Sooners at the end of the first quarter.
The bulk of WVU’s first half offense came from its backcourt as Kysre Gondrezick and Kirsten Deans combined for 23 points. While they were scoring well, the team struggled offensively in the second quarter as it gave up six turnovers. Oklahoma took advantage, turning them into 10 points to help cut into WVU’s lead.
Madi Williams had a big second quarter, chipping in nine points to get the Sooners’ deficit to just four before halftime.
Things started to look back up for West Virginia in the third quarter as it started to heat up from the field. The Mountaineers made two-thirds of their field goals to get the lead as high as 12, but OU’s Gabby Gregory got it back to just nine with a three-pointer at the last second of the quarter.
West Virginia fell apart in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma scored 15 straight points to get in front for the first time since the opening minutes, with many of those points coming as the result of WVU’s seven turnovers in the quarter.
“We was just not taking care of the ball,” Deans said.
Deans put the team on her back to kill the run, scoring a layup and a three-pointer to get back within a point.
After the three-pointer, WVU clamped down on the inbound as Gondrezick earned a steal — her eighth of the game — to give the Mountaineers another possession with the shot clock off. They were unable to convert, however, and took the loss by just a point.
“We looked slow,” Carey said. “We got in foul trouble, [guard] Madisen [Smith] was getting cramps in her calves, we weren’t getting back playing defense, we didn’t even go to the foul line. Too many turnovers, way too many turnovers, leaving our feet in the paint, those kinds of things they all add up to a loss.”
West Virginia had a difficult time stopping the tandem of Madi Williams and Taylor Robertson, who scored 21 and 20 points respectively. All of Robertson’s field goals came from deep, while adding five points from the free throw line.
Deans was the leading scorer for WVU with 22 points, including all five of WVU’s in the fourth quarter. Gondrezick scored 19 points, but struggled to find her stroke, making 40 percent from the field and 27 percent from three. She did have a strong game elsewhere, however, adding eight assists and nabbing eight steals.
“I’m very proud of this group, we just gotta regroup and do the little things again and play as a team and those types of things,” Carey said. “And then, we need our insides to step up, we’ve gotta go inside some more. We’ve gotta get the ball in the pain a little bit more. So we’ve need to work on some things.”