WVU fends off Texas comeback to keep winning streak in tact


Martin, Gondrezick lead Mountaineers to 3-0 start in Big 12 play

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Led by two more 20-point performances from redshirt senior guard Tynice Martin and redshirt junior guard Kysre Gondrezick, the No. 19/20 West Virginia University women’s basketball team (13-1, 3-0 Big 12) secured its third conference win of the season over Texas on Sunday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.

Martin led all scorers with 23 points, her second straight and fourth 20-point performance of the season. She shot 6-of-13 from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line to pace the Mountaineers. Martin now has 1,800 career points and needs 20 points to pass Teana Muldrow (2014-18; 1,819 points) for No. 4 on WVU’s all-time scoring list.

Gondrezick collected 21 points on Sunday to record three consecutive 20-point performances and her eighth of the season. Sophomore forward Kari Niblack led WVU in rebounds, grabbed 12 boards to mark her fouth game with double-figure rebounds.

“Give our girls a lot of credit. They showed a lot of heart,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “We could’ve very easily folded right there when we got behind. We were struggling. When Texas made their run, we were not rebounding, (and we were) taking bad shots and turning the ball over. We were throwing passes where I don’t know why we were throwing them, but we were. Give Texas credit. We had them down most of the game, and they came back and took a lead. So, give them credit, too. They’re a very good basketball team.”

West Virginia jumped out to an early 5-0 lead to start the game, as sophomore guard Madisen Smith scored from behind the arc and Martin nailed a jumper at the top of the key. Gondrezick then added a layup to give WVU a 7-0 advantage. The Mountaineers held the Longhorns scoreless on their first seven posssessions, before UT got on the board with 5:51 remaining in the first quarter. Texas added another score just before the media timeout, but WVU answered with a pair of scores and led UT 11-4 at the first break.

Texas scored first coming out of the timeout to cut into the Mountaineers’ lead, but WVU answered with a layup from freshman forward Esmery Martinez. Martin then added a score to give West Virginia a 7-point advantage, before UT responded with a score of its own with just under a minute to play in the first. Gondrezick scored on a fast break with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter, as West Virginia led 17-10 heading to the second quarter.

The Longhorns closed the gap at the start of the second quarter. Two layups and pair of free throws from Charli Collier cut WVU’s lead to one, but Gondrezick answered the UT scoring run with a triple. Redshirt freshman Rochelle Norris then stretched West Virginia’s lead to six with a layup. Texas cut back into the lead with a Celeste Taylor layup.

Martin drained a 3-pointer and a long jumper following the timeout to stretch WVU’s lead to nine. Norris then added her fourth points of the game to give the Mountaineers a double-digit lead. Texas cut back into the lead with layup. Gondrezick then scored from the wing to get into double figures and retake an 11-point lead over the Longhorns. Collier cut WVU’s lead back to nine with just over a minute to play, but freshman guard Kirsten Deans answered with a layup with three seconds remaining in the half. West Virginia led Texas 34-23 at halftime.

UT opened second-half scoring and cut into the Mountaineer lead with a layup and a pair of free throws from Taylor. West Virginia scored its first points of the half at the 7:41 mark of the third, when Norris converted her third layup of the game. Niblack scored her first points of the game a minute later on a put-back layup that gave WVU a 12-point lead. Texas added four more points to its total just before the media timeout.

Deans sank a pair of free throws coming out of the timeout to give WVU a 10-point lead, but Texas added a quick six points to cut the Mountaineers lead to four points. West Virginia called a timeout with 3:25 remaining in the third quarter. Junior center Blessing Ejiofor provided an answer to the UT scoring run, as she drained a floater after the break. Following a score by the Longhorns, Martin hit her second 3-pointer of the game to stretch WVU’s lead to seven. Texas scored eight unanswered points over the final two minutes to take a 48-47 lead heading to the fourth quarter.

Martin opened the fourth quarter by converting a long baseline jumper to retake the lead, before Gondrezick sank her second trey of the game to give the Mountaineers a four-point advantage. Texas quickly rebounded by scoring five points to retake the lead. With the Longhorns up by four, Martin was fouled on a 3-pointer and converted three from the line to bring WVU within one.

The two teams traded baskets back and forth down the stretch, as Texas’ Sug Sutton buried a jumper at the 2:32 mark to give the Longhorns a two-point advantage. Collier then converted two more at the line before Gondrezick hit two foul shots of her own. Gondrezick gave the momentum back to the Mountaineers for good with 0:41 remaining after she went 1-for-2 from the line, and then drained a 3-pointer after Niblack secured a crucial offensive rebound. Texas continued to foul in the remaining seconds, but the Mountaineers converted at the line to ultimately walk away with the win.

The Mountaineers finished the contest shooting 43.3 percent (22-of-52) from the field and 56.3 percent (18-of-32) at the free-throw line. WVU knocked down six 3-pointers in the victory and scored 20 points off Longhorn turnovers.

Texas shot 22-of-60 (36.7 percent) from the field and hit three triples to shoot 25 percent (3-of-12) from beyond the arc. From the foul line, the squad shot 66.7 percent (16-of24). The Longhorns bested WVU in rebounds, 45-37, and bench points, 16-13.

West Virginia continues Big 12 at the WVU Coliseum on Wednesday, Jan. 15, as the Mountaineers are set to host Oklahoma at 7 p.m. ET.

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