AUSTIN, Texas (Jan. 30, 2021) – The No. 21/24-ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team extended its win streak to 10 straight victories after defeating Texas, 81-75, at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.
Paced by a career-high 30 points from sophomore guard Kirsten Deans, the Mountaineers have now swept the Longhorns in a season series for the first time since joining the Big 12 Conference in 2012. West Virginia’s 10-game win streak also is the team’s longest streak since 2018-19 when it won 13 consecutive contests.
With her career high, Deans becomes the second player to reach the 30-point plateau this season. It marked the first time WVU has had multiple 30-point scorers in a season since the 2017-18 season when three different Mountaineers reached the mark.
Four of WVU’s five starters scored in double figures against the Longhorns. Along with Deans, sophomore forward Esmery Martinez (12), junior forward Kari Niblack (10) and redshirt senior guard Kysre Gondrezick (20) also scored 10-plus points. Martinez paced West Virginia’s rebounding efforts, grabbing 13 boards to record her 10th double-double of the year.
Niblack put the Mountaineers on the board for the first score of the game, before Texas tied the game a minute later. After the Longhorns took their first lead of the night, West Virginia netted five unanswered points, including an and-1 from Deans. UT trimmed WVU’s lead to four with a free throw just before the first media timeout.
A pair of Martinez free throws gave the Mountaineers a six-point lead following the break. The two teams traded scores over the next three minutes, but WVU continued to hold its six-point advantage late in the first. After a score by Texas’ Charlie Collier, West Virginia scored three more points to close out the period and take a seven-point lead into the second quarter.
After opening the second with a score in the paint, Deans and Gondrezick sank back-to-back 3s to help WVU jump out to an 11-point lead to begin the second. Texas continued to claw right back though by netting five points, including a triple of its own. After Martinez scored at the top of the key, the Longhorns mounted a 9-0 run beginning at the 5:56 mark of the period to reclaim the lead.
West Virginia netted a 3-pointer from Martinez to retake the advantage with just over three minutes to play in the half, but UT continued its offensive attack and once again jumped out to take the lead. WVU converted its last two field-goal attempts of the quarter to trim the Longhorns’ lead to one point at halftime.
The Mountaineers and the Longhorns continued to battle in the opening minutes of the third quarter, with both teams taking a two-point lead until the 7:38. Gondrezick then netted a pair of driving layups to begin an 8-2 scoring run, which gave WVU a four-point advantage just before the media timeout.
Following the break, Texas sank a 3-pointer to cut its deficit to one point. Deans and Gondrezick responded with a pair of buckets to end the frame, as the Mountaineers led by five heading into the fourth quarter.
Deans extended the Mountaineer lead to open the final frame, sinking a layup to put WVU up by seven, but the Longhorns responded with a jumper of their own. Texas then crept back within one, before Gondrezick sunk a 3-pointer, but the Longhorns continued to keep it close down the stretch. Niblack added a layup, then rejected a Texas shot attempt at the rim to keep WVU on top by two. Following Niblack’s block, the Mountaineers outscored the Longhorns 9-3 and converted at the free-throw line to hold on for the 81-75 victory.
West Virginia finished the contest shooting 53.4% (31-of-58) from the field, including 40% (6-of-15) from beyond the arc. The Mountaineers edged Texas in nearly every statistical category, including rebounding (39-29), points in the paint (42-38) and fast-break points (12-0). The Longhorns finished the contest 29-of-64 (45.3%) from the floor and 7-of-15 (46.7) from 3-point range.
Next up, the Mountaineers return to Morgantown on Wednesday, Feb. 10, for a matchup against Kansas. Tip-off from the WVU Coliseum is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. Wednesday’s contest will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. Tickets for Wednesday’s game against the Jayhawks are now on sale and can be purchased at WVUGAME.com.
Press Release: WVU Athletics Communications
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Garabedian