In their first game since Jan. 2, the West Virginia women’s basketball team could not pick up their first Big 12 win of the year, as they fell 71-61 on Saturday night in the WVU Coliseum.
At the end of the third quarter, Kansas State (13-2, 3-0 Big 12) took a lead they would not relinquish, with guard Serena Sundell leading Kansas State in scoring, with 21 points while, guard Jaelyn Glenn knocked down six three-pointers in her team’s victory.
For West Virginia (7-5, 0-2 Big 12), Kirsten Deans and Madisen Smith were the only scorers to finish in double figures with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
The night began with Kansas State taking a 5-0 lead through only the first minute after an Ayoka Lee pair of free throws. The Wildcats were able to extend their early lead to six points a minute later after a Glenn three-pointer made it 8-2. It took a bit longer for the Mountaineers to get something going as a Deans three halfway through the opening quarter knotted the game at 8-8.
The two teams traded baskets the rest of the quarter as West Virginia’s Kari Niblack and Jayla Hemingway each knocked down a pair of free throws at the end of the quarter to give the Mountaineers a one-point lead heading to the second, 14-13.
Following a Wildcat Sundell two-point jumper to knot the game in the second quarter at 20 points apiece, the Mountaineers began to find some breathing room. A scoring run through the next three minutes saw West Virginia go on a 10-3 run and take an eight-point lead with three minutes left in the first half, 31-23.
The West Virginia scoring was led by a Smith three which began the second quarter scoring run with six minutes remaining before halftime. Kansas State was only able to get baskets off a Sundell three and a Lee layup before halftime as West Virginia ended the first half with a 35-28 advantage.
After the Mountaineers got a layup from Blessing Ejiofor halfway through the third quarter, the Wildcats began to slim the lead beginning with a couple Glenn threes to make it a four-point game halfway through the quarter, 42-38. Sundell then brought the score within one point a minute later on some free throws before Glenn hit another three with two minutes left in the third for the 46-44 Wildcat deficit.
The third quarter ended in familiar fashion for Kansas State as the team got another three out of the hands of Glenn which gave them the three-point lead over West Virginia heading to the fourth, 49-46.
Deans was able to hit a three for the Mountaineers out of the gates in the fourth quarter to knot the game at 49-49. Right after the Deans three, Sundell hit a three before Smith knocked down another Mountaineer three in a span of one minute.
Halfway through the final quarter, Kansas State had extended their lead margin to seven points after a Lee layup, 59-52. The Wildcats handled the rest of the fourth quarter and snatched the 10-point victory over the Mountaineers, 71-61. Sundell sunk five more points for her Wildcats through the rest of the fourth which included a layup and a trio of free throws.
West Virginia will now be back in action at the WVU Coliseum on Wednesday when the team hosts Texas Tech at 7 p.m. with the game being televised on Big 12 Now and ESPN+.
Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography