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Press Release: Niblack Named Student-Athlete of the Week

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Jan. 25, 2021) – After tallying a career-high 23 points in the Mountaineers’ 65-56, comeback win against Kansas State, junior forward Kari Niblack of the West Virginia University women’s basketball team has been named the WVU Student-Athlete of the Week, presented by University Apartments. 

Niblack led the Mountaineers in scoring for the second time this season against the Wildcats in a career-high 40 minutes played. The Leesburg, Florida, native accounted for 35.4% of WVU’s scoring against KSU and was one of two Mountaineers to finish with 20 or more points in the win. She shot 8-of-15 (53.3%) from the floor and finished with two of West Virginia’s season-high 15 steals against Kansas State. Niblack also tallied three blocks in the victory, marking the eighth time this season that she has blocked multiple shots in a game. 

Her performance against K-State also marked her third career 20-point game and first since Dec. 21, 2019, against Michigan State (21). Niblack now has 126 career blocks and ranks No. 7 in program history in the category. During her three years at West Virginia, she has blocked at least one shot in 53 of her 75 games played. 

This Week in Gymnastics: The Mountaineers (0-1, 0-1) travel to Norman, Oklahoma, for their second consecutive dual meet with the No. 2-ranked Sooners (3-0, 1-0) on Sunday, Jan. 31, inside the Lloyd Noble Center … competition is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET, on ESPNU. 

Last Week in Gymnastics: West Virginia opened its 2021 season with a 196.100-194.900 loss to No. 2 Oklahoma on Jan. 22, inside the WVU Coliseum, in Morgantown … despite the loss, the Mountaineers hit 24-for-24 routines to split the event titles with the Sooners, finishing first on balance beam (48.825-48.625) and floor exercise (48.900-48.775), while the Sooners earned the vault (49.325-48.575) and uneven bars (49.375-48.600) team victories … sophomore Emily Holmes-Hackerd finished second in the all-around with a score of 38.650 … Friday’s meet marked Holmes-Hackerd’s career debut in the all-around, as she also competed on vault and bars for the first time. 

Notes: Eleven Mountaineers earned time in at least one lineup last weekend, with five gymnasts competing in three or more events … additionally, a trio of Mountaineers made their collegiate debuts, as Kiana Lewis was inserted into the vault lineup, Nicole Norris competed on bars and Chloe Asper made her debut on floor … Holmes-Hackerd leads the team with 38.65 points, followed by junior Kendra Combs with 29.4 … the Mountaineers are 1-20 all-time against the Sooners … WVU is on the hunt for its first conference regular-season win since 2017. 

This Week in Rifle: West Virginia will travel to Columbus, Ohio for a rematch against Ohio State on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 1 p.m., ET … the match will be held at the Lt. Hugh W. Wylie Range … the Mountaineers then return home for a match against Akron, Ole Miss and Navy on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 8 a.m, … WVU plays host to Ole Miss once more on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 9 a.m., ET at the WVU Rifle Range.  

Last Week in Rifle: WVU opened its 2021 home season with a 4712-4661 win over Ohio State on Saturday, Jan. 23 … the Mountaineers (2-0, 1-0) swept the Buckeyes (1-5, 0-1 PRC) in both disciplines, winning smallbore, 2334-2308, and air rifle, 2378-2353 … junior Jared Eddy and freshman Becca Lamb tied for first place overall, with each shooter earning a personal-best aggregate score of 1179 … eight Mountaineers finished inside the top 10 in both the smallbore and air rifle standings … Eddy claimed the smallbore title with a 586 mark, while a trio of freshmen (Molly McGhin, Matt Sanchez and Lamb) placed first in air rifle with matching 595s … with the win, WVU improved to 48-0 all-time against the Buckeyes. 

Notes: WVU and Ohio State will meet for a rematch, on Tuesday, Jan. 26 and the Mountaineers will have a chance to compete at the 2021 NCAA Championship site … the Mountaineers are 48-0 against Ohio State since 1974, 19-0 against Akron since 1952, 16-3 against Ole Miss since 2002 and 29-8 against Navy since 1966 … West Virginia’s last meeting with Akron was in its first match of the 2021 season, on Jan. 23, with a 4715-4665 win … WVU took the 4704-4674 win against Ole Miss in its last meeting, on Nov. 2, 2019, as well as a 4715-4665 win over Navy on Nov. 23, 2019. 

This Week in Swimming and Diving: The Mountaineers host Notre Dame for a two-day dual meet to conclude the regular season on Jan. 29-30 … action at the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park begins at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, and 10 a.m. ET on Saturday … this weekend also is Senior Day, as WVU honors its twelve senior members prior to the meet on Saturday. 

Last Week in Swimming and Diving: West Virginia did not compete last week. 

Notes: WVU and Notre Dame meet for the seventh time this weekend, with four of the seven meetings coming at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Indiana … the Fighting Irish women’s team holds a 3-0 dual-meet record over the Mountaineers, while the Notre Dame men’s team is 2-1 over WVU … this weekend’s contest marks the two teams first meeting since the 2008-09 season … a pair of Mountaineers collected Big 12 swimming and diving weekly awards last week, as senior David Dixon was named the Co-Men’s Swimmer of the Week and junior PJ Lenz was named the Men’s Diver of the Week … 12 senior Mountaineers will be recognized for their contributions to the WVU men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs during the team’s Senior Day ceremony prior to the meet on Saturday, Jan. 30. 

This Week in Women’s Basketball: The Mountaineers travel to Texas this week for a pair of Big 12 road contests … WVU opens its road tilt on Wednesday, Jan. 27, against Texas Tech before concluding the swing against TCU on Saturday, Jan. 30 … opening tip against the Lady Raiders is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET, from United Supermarkets Arena, in Lubbock … tip-off against the Horned Frogs is scheduled for 2 p.m., from Schollmaier Arena, in Fort Worth.

Last Week in Women’s Basketball: WVU won its second consecutive game in comeback fashion, as the Mountaineers defeated Kansas State, 65-56, on Jan. 20, at the WVU Coliseum, in Morgantown … with 4:36 left in the game, West Virginia trailed K-State by 12 and used 21-0 run over the final minutes of the game to defeat the Wildcats … the Mountaineers forced a season-high 29 turnovers and scored 36 points off those chances … WVU also finished with a season-high 15 steals in the win … sophomore forward Kari Niblack led the Mountaineers in scoring for the second time this season, tallying a career-high 23 points … redshirt senior guard Kysre Gondrezick also posted a 20-point game, finishing with 22 on the night … sophomore forward Esmery Martinez also tallied double figures against KSU, with 11, and led West Virginia in rebounding, with eight rebounds.

Notes: West Virginia is 132-91 against its 2020-21 opponents, including 98-78 against members of the Big 12 Conference … WVU is currently on a six-game win streak, its longest of the season, and has won five straight Big 12 contests … West Virginia’s current win streak also is the longest active streak in the Big 12 … WVU’s fourth-quarter comeback against Kansas State marked the Mountaineers’ second consecutive comeback win after trailing by 10 or more points … WVU has accomplished that feat three times this season … West Virginia’s 6-0, non-conference record this season is the best mark in the Big 12 Conference … the Mountaineers are one of two Big 12 teams and 21 teams nationally who has 11 or more wins this season … WVU has one win this season over an AP Top-25 team: then-No. 17 Texas … the Mountaineers also have a win over an opponent who is currently ranked in the AP Top 25: No. 25 Tennessee … Gondrezick currently leads the Mountaineers in scoring, with a total of 246 points and an average of 20.5 per game … the Benton Harbor, Michigan, native has scored 20 or more points in eight games this season … Martinez is pacing WVU in the rebounding department this season, with 12.8 boards per game … she also has tallied a double-double in nine games this season, including a streak of seven consecutive games … her nine double-doubles this season also lead the team and rank No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 6 nationally. 

This Week in Wrestling: WVU (4-2, 0-1) welcomes Big 12 affiliate Northern Colorado (3-0, 2-0) to Morgantown on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 12 p.m. ET, inside the WVU Coliseum … Sunday’s action will be carried live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+, the conference’s digital platform … fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $5.99 a month (or $59.99 per year) at ESPNplus.comESPN.com or on the ESPN App (mobile and connected devices) … it also is available as part of The Disney Bundle offer that gives subscribers access to Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu (ad-supported) — all for just $12.99/month … live stats will be available through TrackWrestling.com … direct links to the video stream and live stats can be found on the wrestling schedule page at WVUsports.com.

Last Week in Wrestling: In an added match, West Virginia overcame a 15-13 deficit to defeat Cleveland State, 18-15, on Jan. 23, at Woodling Gymnasium, in Cleveland, Ohio … with two bouts remaining, WVU desperately needed a pair of decisions to claim the team victory over CSU … No. 1 Noah Adams, a redshirt junior, answered the call for the Mountaineers, as he grinded out an 8-2 decision over Ben Smith at 197 pounds for the one-point edge in team scoring … however, West Virginia was deducted a team point due to an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Adams for throwing his head gear … with the match knotted at 15-all, redshirt freshman Michael Wolfgram turned it up in the heavyweight bout to claim a 6-3 win over John Kelby, as WVU walked away with the 18-15 team victory … additionally, redshirt junior Killian Cardinale (125), sophomore Scott Joll (174), redshirt freshman Jeffrey Boyd (141) and freshman Peyton Hall (165) each tallied a win in Cleveland over the weekend, with Cardinale earning the Mountaineers’ lone bonus victory of the match.

Notes: Following last weekend’s win, Adams improved to 6-0 on the year and extended his win streak to 38, which dates back to Nov. 3, 2019 … the Coal City, West Virginia, native also paces the Mountaineers with 23 team points this season, followed by Hall with 17 … WVU and UNC meet for the sixth time since 2014 on Sunday … West Virginia owns a 4-1 all-time series advantage, with the Mountaineers’ last win taking place on Nov. 1, 2018, coach Tim Flynn’s first match at the helm of the WVU wrestling program … last season, West Virginia dropped a 31-10 contest at Northern Colorado on Nov. 16, 2019, with Adams (197) and redshirt sophomore Alex Hornfeck (157) each earning victories in their respective weight classes.

Press Release Courtesy of West Virginia University Athletics Communications

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