WVU women’s hoops picks up first Big 12 win at Oklahoma

Gold and Blue Nation

After 13-day hiatus, the West Virginia University women’s basketball team picked up its first Big 12 Conference win of the season, as the Mountaineers defeated Oklahoma, 90-72, on Sunday afternoon, at the Lloyd Noble Center, in Norman.

West Virginia was led by redshirt senior guard Kysre Gondrezick, who tallied a team-high 26 points and was one of four Mountaineers to finish in double figures. Sophomore guard Kirsten Deans also tallied 20 points in the win, while sophomore forward Esmery Martinez tallied her fourth consecutive double-double, with a career-high 18 points and team-high 11 rebounds. Junior forward Kari Niblack chipped in 13 points as well.

Oklahoma took the early lead in the game with a pair of jumpers, as the Mountaineers turned the ball over three times in the opening minutes of the first quarter. Martinez would convert in the paint to get WVU on the board. A pair of back-to-back scores cut into OU’s lead, before Niblack converted the and-1 to tie the game with just under six minutes to go in the first. Niblack then put West Virginia on top for the first time in the game after converting a fast-break score just before the first media timeout.

The Mountaineers ended the quarter on an 18-4 run that saw Gondrezick hit a trio of 3-pointers to reach double figures. WVU led 25-13 at the end of the first.

The Sooners responded to West Virginia’s scoring onslaught with an offensive attack of their own, as OU cut the lead to four over the opening minutes of the second quarter. A 3-pointer by junior guard Madisen Smith snuffed out the attack with just under seven minutes to play in the half. West Virginia only mustered a single score over the next two minutes but led by seven at the second-quarter media timeout.

West Virginia continued to hold its lead following the break thanks to a pair of scores from Deans and Martinez. Sophomore guard Jayla Hemingway then converted an and-1 opportunity to stretch the advantage just before halftime, but OU’s Madi Williams helped spark the Sooners’ offense to close out the second quarter and cut WVU’s lead to two. West Virginia led Oklahoma, 39-37, at the half.

Coming out of the locker room, the Mountaineers scored a quick six points and forced Oklahoma to call a timeout. OU cut into WVU’s lead following the break, but a pair of scores from Niblack and two 3-pointers from Gondrezick and Deans gave West Virginia a 12-point lead with 4:34 to play in the quarter.

Deans score the next eight points for the Mountaineers and Martinez tacked on four more for WVU to end the quarter, as West Virginia held a 13-point lead at the end of the third.

Oklahoma scored seven unanswered points to bring the fourth quarter before Martinez countered with a score in the paint. Three points from Gondrezick brought WVU’s lead back to 10 with just over five minutes to play in the game. She and Martinez went on to score the Mountaineers next nine points and stretch the lead to 14 points with two minutes to go in the game. Smith also converted a pair of scores down the stretch and helped West Virginia coast to its first Big 12 win of the season.

The Mountaineers shot 35-of-64 (54.7%) from the field and sank 10 3-pointers in the win. WVU out-rebounded OU, 34-30, and forced 13 turnovers.

Oklahoma was led by Williams, who finished with an OU single-game record 45 points. Gabby Gregory also finished with 13 points and paced the Sooners on the glass, with five rebounds.

Next up, West Virginia returns to Morgantown on Saturday, Jan. 9, as the Mountaineers welcome Texas to the WVU Coliseum. The opening tip time on Big 12 Now on ESPN + will be announced this week.

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