West Virginia narrowly beat 18th-ranked Iowa State in a 73-64 upset on Wednesday night.
Lucky Rudd led the Mountaineers in points with a career-high 22 points; included in those 22 points were three three-pointers. Tynice Martin added 20 points and 11 rebounds of her own.
The Mountaineers outshot the Cyclones 42.3 percent to 30 percent, and the largest lead they held was by 12 points.
“They are a really good team, they are hard to guard. To hold them to 33 percent from the floor is pretty good for us,” said head coach Mike Carey.
West Virginia played their best basketball in the first half and fourth quarter.
The Mountaineers were first to put points on the board with a three from Madisen Smith. WVU gained an early 7-2 lead with points from Naomi Davenport and Theresa Ekhelar.
Rudd hit two three-pointers in consecutive possessions, bringing WVU’s lead to 13-5. The Cyclones attempted to cut their deficit, but they only came within seven.
Rudd hit her third three to end the first quarter, leaving the Mountaineers with a 20-13 lead to start the second-quarter.
In the first quarter, the Mountaineers nailed four three-pointers, two of them belonging to Rudd, for a team field goal percentage of 50 percent.
The Mountaineers found themselves in foul trouble and looked toward the bench for help in the second quarter.
Tynice Martin put up the first points of the second quarter for WVU, with two foul shots and a basket in the paint, giving the Mountaineers a 25-15 lead over the Cyclones.
Bridget Carlton of Iowa State scored off a stolen ball, leaving the Cyclones trailing by five. Carlton followed the steal with a three, decreasing the Mountaineers’ lead to two.
Carlton led the Cylones in all stats, tallying 26 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and five steals.
WVU ended the second quarter with a one-point lead, 31-30. The Mountaineers outshot the Cyclones 42 percent to 31 percent, with 33 percent to 31 percent in three-pointers at the break.
After the half, the Mountaineers began to fall off a bit and the Cyclones took advantage of that.
“I don’t think we quit, we got a little tired and we start feeling sorry for ourselves a little bit; our shot doesn’t go, we start standing around,” Carey said regarding the slow third quarter.
Iowa State took their first lead of the contest early in the third quarter 34-33. Davenport ended the Mountaineers’ 2:33 scoreless run with a three to come within four points of the Cyclones.
The beginning of the fourth quarter stayed tight with neither of the teams earning a large lead over the other. The Mountaineers regained the lead early in the fourth with free throws from Martin and Rudd, 52-50.
Kari Niblack then put up three points for WVU off an and-one, increasing its lead to three.
With a little over a minute left in the fourth, the Cyclones fouled out. This brought WVU to the line four times where they went 5-6. The Mountaineers held a 70-62-point lead with thirty seconds left.
In the absence of Katrina Pardee, Rudd has had some big shoes to fill. In this matchup against Iowa State, she showed her strength on the court, putting up a career-high in points.
When asked how she’s prepared to fill in for Pardee, Rudd said, “Being focused, working outside of practice, before practice. This past week and before practice I’ve been making sure I’m getting up a lot of shots, so I’m prepared to do what she was doing before.”
Rudd and the Mountaineers will face off against the second-ranked Baylor Bears on Sunday in Waco, Texas. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.