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WVU can’t hold off Kansas State in fourth quarter, drop to 0-2 in conference play

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

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