MORGANTOWN – The West Virginia University women’s basketball earned its third Big 12 Conference victory of the season after defeating Texas Tech, 83-78, on Wednesday evening at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.
Redshirt senior guard Kysre Gondrezick led the West Virginia scoring attack for the fourth consecutive game by tallying a team-high 19 points. Sophomore forward Esmery Martinez led WVU in rebounding and posted her sixth consecutive double-double, finishing with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Junior guard Jasmine Carson also finished in double figures for the second time in her WVU career, tallying 13 points in nine minutes played.
“(It was a) very sloppy game,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “Thank goodness for our bench. We scored 30 points off the bench. If we didn’t have that, we would’ve (lost) tonight. We were two steps slow, they were dribble-driving us and getting anything they wanted.
Offensively, we took a bunch of bad shots, wouldn’t reverse the ball. We could’ve kicked it inside all night, but our guards were not patient. They took too many early shots on the shot clock. It wasn’t good. I thought (junior guard) Jasmine Carson came off the bench and did a great job. I thought (redshirt sophomore center) Rochelle Norris came off the bench and played extremely hard. Then she got tired a little bit and started reaching, but I thought she did a good job off the bench too.”
After Texas Tech took an early lead, redshirt sophomore center Rochelle Norris came in off the bench to score seven points to help the Mountaineers retake the advantage. The Lady Raiders then tied the game with a 3-pointer with just under five minutes to go, but Martinez put WVU back on top just before the media timeout.
The Mountaineers came out of the break and went on a 10-5 run to end the quarter. West Virginia took a 10-point lead over TTU thanks to a driving score by sophomore guard Jayla Hemingway at the 1:06 mark of the first. WVU led Texas Tech, 21-14, at the end of the period.
The Lady Raiders cut WVU’s lead to four points over the first three minutes of the second frame, but Carson fired back with a triple. TTU’s Vivian Gray then countered with a 3 of her own and helped Texas Tech cut WVU’s lead to two with just over three minutes to play in the half.
West Virginia quickly responded over the final minutes of the second quarter, as Martinez and Gondrezick both scored to help the Mountaineers end the frame on an 8-2 run. The Mountaineers led by eight at halftime.
WVU began the second half with a pair of scores from junior guard Madisen Smith and junior forward Kari Niblack to jump out to an 11-point lead in the opening minute of the third quarter. Texas Tech then countered with a trio of its own scores to cut the game to six points.
Gondrezick followed by converting her first 3-pointer of the game to get the Moutaineers’ lead back to 11 points. Texas Tech responded yet again and rattled off a 9-2 run to cut the game back to single digits. A pair of scores from senior center Blessing Ejiofor helped WVU hold a six-point lead at the third-quarter media break.
Both coaches were issued a technical foul following the timeout, as West Virginia led by seven.
Smith scored at the 3:50 mark of the third, but the Lady Raiders surged back over the final three minutes of the quarter to cut WVU’s lead to three points. Carson scored just before the end of the frame to give the Mountaineers a five-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Carson opened the final quarter by scoring eight points and helped WVU jump out to a 15-point lead with just under seven minutes to play in the game. Texas Tech whittled away at the Mountaineers lead over the next four minutes, but WVU countered with four free throws to keep its advantage at double digits with 3:17 to play.
Tech continued to chip away at West Virginia’s lead for the remainder of the game. The Lady Raiders even trimmed the deficit to three points with 17 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, but a clutch 3-pointer from Gondrezick and a last-second score from Martinez helped WVU down TTU, 83-78.
West Virginia shot 32-of-71 (45.1%) and made five 3-pointers. WVU out-rebounded TTU, 44-26, and held the advantage in second-chance points (20), bench points (30) and points in the paint (38). The Mountaineers assisted on 20 of their 32 made field goals.
Texas Tech’s scoring effort was led by Gray, who tallied a team-high 28 points. Naje Murray (18 points), Lexi Gordon (11 points) and Maka Jackson (11 points) also finished in double figures for the Lady Raiders. TTU shot 24-of-30 (80%) from the free-throw line in the game.
Next up, West Virginia welcomes Oklahoma State to Morgantown on Saturday, Jan. 16. Tip-off against the Cowgirls is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET, at the WVU Coliseum. Wednesday’s game will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+, with Andrew Caridi, Warren Baker and Anjelica Trinone on the call. TTU’s Khadija Faye was then assessed a technical foul at the 8:25 mark of the third. Gondrezick would go to the line and make both free throws.