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Martinez and Mountaineers host No. 11 Baylor in Saturday matinee

Following the West Virginia women’s basketball team’s victory over TCU on Tuesday night, the Mountaineers will now take on No. 11 Baylor at home on Saturday at 2 p.m. inside the WVU Coliseum.

West Virginia (10-7, 3-4 Big 12) will have to continue to do what they have done well this season in order to knock off Baylor (14-4, 4-2 Big 12) this weekend which includes not turning the ball over, hitting open shots and providing enough ball pressure to contend on defense.

Recently, there has been one Mountaineer finding her stride after being away from the court for some time earlier in the season due to injury. That player is junior forward Esmery Martinez who registered her third straight double-double of the season against the Horned Frogs earlier in the week and seventh double-double overall on the season.

Over West Virginia’s last three games, Martinez has averaged 18.3 points per game and 12.7 rebounds per game.

“It’s great, I was told she was ninth now in the history of women’s basketball in double-doubles and she’ll just keep growing, she’ll keep going up the ladder on that,” said West Virginia head coach Mike Carey. “It’s great to see, she was hitting the three’s, she was rebounding, she was scoring in the paint and that’s what we know she can do.”

The scoring of Martinez surely was one of the driving forces behind West Virginia’s third Big 12 win of the year and Mountaineer head coach Mike Carey is going to need his guard to step up as the season continues in Big 12 play. Martinez’s 11.6 points per game pace her at second in West Virginia’s scoring department only behind junior guard KK Deans’ 15.2 points per game.

Martinez has also been the team’s leading rebounder this season averaging 8.7 grabs per ballgame through 16 games played this year. Her most dominant outing this season came against Michigan State in the West Palm Beach Invitational in December when the junior netted 21 points and 11 rebounds for one of her double-doubles as the Mountaineers went on to win that game by 20 points, 74-54.

“She (Martinez) expects to do well all the time but that’s a great honor to be number eight right now, I think there’s a lot more double-doubles in her future and she’ll continue to grow as a player and I think she’ll continue to have a great career,” Carey said.

Martinez has not been doing in the scoring department, as Deans has been the answer on the perimeter this season boasting a 31.4 three-point percentage, only a few points behind Martinez’s 36.4% shooting on three-point attempts.

Baylor comes into Morgantown currently on a four-game winning streak, most recently defeating Texas Tech on Wednesday, 88-80. The Bears also knocked off then-No. 7 Iowa State on Sunday as well as Oklahoma State and Kansas last week. The Bears currently sit at 4-2 in Big 12 play.

Baylor carries four scorers averaging double figures on the season led by senior forward NaLyssa Smith’s 20.3 points per game, graduate guard Jordan Lewis’ 12.4 points per game, sophomore guard Sarah Andrews 11.8 points per game and senior center Queen Egbo’s 10.3 points per contest.

West Virginia and No. 11 Baylor will tip off on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. from the Coliseum with the game being televised on Big 12 Now and ESPN+.

Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography

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