While Saturday’s win against Pitt may appear as a typical step early in the season, it was one that made all the difference for the 1991-1992 season.
On Saturday, Dec. 21, 1991, the 3-2 WVU women’s basketball team defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers 91-63 at home, beginning the longest winning streak in the team’s now 50 years of history.
Coach Kittie Blakemore, who helped start women’s sports at the university in 1972, coached the Mountaineers during this run. The season was Blakemore’s 19th and final year as head coach.
It lasted until March 12th, 1992, when the Mountaineers fell to Duquesne in the A-10 Tournament. The Mountaineers would go on to play in the NCAA Tournament and win in the first round over Clemson for their only Sweet Sixteen appearance in program history.
The run included seven wins by a margin of 30 points or more and two wins against the ranked George Washington Colonials. Looking back, these are some of the most pivotal moments from the winning streak.
Dec. 21, 1991: Home win against Pittsburgh starts the run
The home win that started it all was, first and foremost, the result of a star performance from senior Rosemary Kosiorek. The guard shot 14/16 from the field for a game high 33 points. Kosiorek made both of her three-point attempts in the game while also knocking down her only two free throw attempts, but almost all of her plays started on the defensive side, as she grabbed six steals in the game.
Senior forward Donna Abbott also shined defensively, as she stole the ball five times herself. Abbott scored the second most of all Mountaineers with 12 points. 12 different players scored for WVU, adding up to 91 points, which was the team’s most of the season to that point.
The Mountaineers rested for almost two full weeks after the win, but no momentum was lost as the team traveled to St. Bonaventure for the first win of the calendar year.
Jan. 5 – Jan. 14: Mountaineers win four straight games by wide margins
For the third through sixth games of the streak, WVU won every matchup by a margin of 35 points or more.
At home against South Alabama, the Mountaineers triumphed 94-46, more than doubling their opponent’s score. 5’9″ sophomore Christy Cooper was the team’s top player, as she led the game with 19 points, six assists, and seven steals.
Kosiorek and Abbott once again shined, as Kosoriek shot 70% from the field for 14 points and assisted on nine plays while Abbott had a double-double performance of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Four days later, on Thursday West Virginia won big again, this time in a conference matchup against Saint Joseph’s. Kosiorek scored 31 points in the 93-57 victory.
That Saturday, WVU took on St. Bonaventure, who they played in New York just over a week before. In that game, the Mountaineers squeaked out an 83-75 win, but at home, with all of the momentum they could ask for, the team crushed 93-51.
Abbott posted 19 points and 12 rebounds in the victory, while Kosiorek was once again the top scorer with 26 points, eight assists, four rebounds, and four steals. Senior Lori Wilson tallied five blocks, three steals, and seven rebounds in 33 minutes.
The four-game stretch ended with a 36-point win over Xavier at home. Kosiorek and Abbott both managed double-doubles, as Kosiorek scored 27 of the team’s 85 points and tallied 10 assists while Abbott scored 12 and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Feb. 8 and Feb. 24: WVU takes down ranked George Washington
On Saturday, Feb. 8, the Mountaineers extended their win streak to 14 games as they took down the No. 8 George Washington Colonials, 80-61.
The highly anticipated matchup featured 15 points, seven rebounds, and seven steals from GWU’s Kirstin McArdle, who played all 40 minutes of the game. Donna Abbott led in scoring for WVU with 26 points and 14 rebounds to make up for Kosiorek’s shooting struggles. The Mountaineers had four starters score in double digits, with only Christy Cooper falling short in her 23 minutes of play.
The Mountaineers entered halftime up 12 points. The team dropped their scoring from 47 in the first half to 33 points in the second half, but WVU still outscored GWU by seven in the second period for the win.
The second matchup between the two teams saw West Virginia ranked higher than GWU, at 13 compared to the 15th ranked Colonials. Also different in the contest was the location, as the Mountaineers traveled to DC for the game.
George Washington led at halftime, 29-26, as the team saw great production from Mary K. Nordling off the bench. Nordling shot 12/17 to earn 28 points and 31 minutes of playing time. She also posted nine rebounds, three blocks, and a steal in the game.
Fortunately for WVU, Rosemary Kosiorek was more than capable of matching the scoring output, as she finished with 29 points off 10/15 shooting and 9/12 from the free throw line. She also matched Nordling defensively with four steals while Donna Abbott covered her own responsibilities with 11 points, 12 rebounds, and three steals.
West Virginia came back in the second half with a 35-31 scoring advantage, giving them their second and final win over George Washington of the season.
The 2023-2024 edition of the West Virginia Mountaineers women’s basketball team will look to build off their Pitt win and plant their own footsteps in history on Sunday against Youngstown State. The game tips off at 4 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.
Photo by Wesley Shoemaker, Blue Gold Sports