MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Feb. 10, 2021) – The No. 19/21-ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team extended its win streak to 11 straight victories after defeating Kansas, 69-61, at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, on Wednesday night.
WVU (16-2, 10-2 Big 12) was led by four double-figure performances from redshirt senior guard Kysre Gondrezick (19 points), junior forward Kari Niblack (17 points), sophomore forward Esmery Martinez (17 points) and sophomore guard Kirsten Deans (11 points). Martinez and Deans led the Mountaineers in rebounding with seven boards.
The Mountaineers led by as many as 16 points in the game and outscored the Jayhawks in the first and third quarters, while holding the advantage for 36:03.
“Give Kansas credit,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “They came right at us. Coach (Brandon) Schneider does a great job. They were getting downhill on us. Offensively, we were standing around. We just didn’t play well. Give Kansas a lot of credit for that.”
Kansas opened the game in scoring, but WVU followed with a jumper from Niblack. The Jayhawks held the lead with a pair of free throws and a pair of scores. Gondrezick then hit a 3, and Deans followed with a layup on a fast break to cut the Jayhawks lead to one at the 6:48 mark of the first. West Virginia then took its first lead of the night when Gondrezick converted from the wing and followed that score up with another triple. Deans also netted a triple of her own, before Niblack scored in the paint to help the Mountaineers jump out to a 15-0 run and take a nine-point lead with just over three minutes to play in the opening quarter.
KU’s Aniya Thomas ended the Jayhawks scoring drought with a layup at the 3:05 mark. Gondrezick fired right back to extend WVU’s lead to nine with a layup, and Martinez tallied a score of her own with under a minute remaining in the frame. West Virginia led by 11 at the end of the first.
Kansas began the second quarter with a score from forward Tina Stephens, but Martinez responded with a layup on the other end. The two teams traded baskets before entering a two-minute scoring drought, which began with 8:22 remaining in the half. The Jayhawks ended the scoreless stretch at the 6:35 mark. WVU netted just one free throw prior to the media timeout.
Following the break, KU continued to cut into the Mountaineers’ lead. Martinez attempted to stymie the Jayhawks’ scoring attack, but Kansas trimmed the deficit all the way down to five points with just under three minutes remaining in the second quarter. After Martinez scored from the top of the key and Deans netted one at the line, Smith converted an and-1 opportunity to put WVU on top by 11 points. The Jayhawks scored once more before the half came to a close, as the Mountaineers led by nine at the end of the second quarter.
Niblack extended the Mountaineer lead to open the third frame, and Martinez followed up with a jumper to give West Virginia a 13-point lead. Kansas tacked on a free throw, but Deans and Niblack both added two points for WVU to extend the lead to 16 points, its largest of the game. The Jayhawks hit a 3 and the teams continued to traded baskets in the middle of the quarter until Kansas hit another triple to cut WVU’s lead to 10 heading into the third-quarter, media timeout.
Following the break, Kansas hit a pair of free throws, but Martinez answered back with a 3 to get WVU’s lead back to double digits. With the clock winding down in the third, junior guard Jasmine Carson netted a layup with one second left, and WVU went into the final frame with a 55-45 lead.
Stephens netted a 3-pointer for the Jayhawks to open the final frame, but Niblack responded with a jumper. Kansas then followed up Niblack’s score with another triple. The teams continued to traded baskets before running into another scoring drought of three minutes. Niblack converted once more with a score in the paint to hold the Mountaineers lead. However, the Jayhawks continued to fire back until they cut the lead down to four points with 1:29 remaining in the game.
Gondrezick netted a layup to give WVU a six-point lead with 28 seconds to go, but the Jayhawks sank a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game yet again. Niblack tallied a pair of free throws extend the Mountaineer’s lead to six with 23 seconds remaining. Gondrezick then stole the ball and drew a personal foul that led to two more at the charity stripe to ultimately secure the 69-61 victory.
West Virginia finished the contest shooting 48.2% (27-of-56) from the field and 10-18 (55.6%) from the free throw line. The Mountaineers edged Kansas in rebounding (32-28). Jayhawks finished the contest 23-of-60 (38.3%) from the floor and 4-of-16 (25%) from 3-point range.
Next up, the Mountaineers return to Morgantown on Sunday, Feb. 14, for a matchup against Oklahoma in WVU’s annual Pink Game, presented by WVU Medicine. Tip-off from the WVU Coliseum is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET. Sunday’s contest will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. Tickets for Sunday’s game against the Sooners are now on sale and can be purchased at WVUGAME.com.
Press Release: WVU Athletics Communications
Photo Credit: Dale Sparjs