In its first game in nine days the West Virginia women’s basketball team had a tall task in front of it Sunday afternoon against the No. 10 Mississippi State Bulldogs.
It started with a back and forth first quarter with West Virginia holding a slim, 13-12 lead. After a three-pointer by freshman guard Kirsten Deans, the Mountaineers had their largest lead of the game at 34-24 with one-minute left in the first half.
The Bulldogs only cut into the lead to make it an eight-point deficit at the half. At the break, Kysre Gondrezick and Deans led the Mountaineers with eight points each. Deans came off the bench hitting 2-of-3 from behind the arc. For the Bulldogs, Jordan Danberry led all scorers with 14 total points.
In the third quarter, Mississippi State began with a 12-3 run to take the lead, 40-39. The Bulldogs finished the quarter scoring 27 points and a six-point advantage, 55-49.
West Virginia took control in the fourth quarter and never looked back after holding Mississippi State to 10 total points in the final quarter. The Mountaineers earned their first top-10 victory of the season with a 71-65 win.
The Bulldogs didn’t score a field goal in the final six minutes as WVU finished the game on a 7-1 run.
Deans scored a career-high to lead West Virginia with 17 points as four Mountaineers scored in double-digits. Kari Niblack recorded a double-double with 12 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
Tynice Martin and Gondrezick scored 13 and 16 points respectively. Martin also had 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Three players scored in double-digits for the Bulldogs with Danberry leading the way. After scoring 14 points in the first half, Danberry was held to just five points to finish the game with 19. Rickea Jackson scored 15 points and Jessika Carter scored 11.
Overall, West Virginia shot 41% from the field going 26-of-64. Mississippi State shot 44% going 24-of-55 from the floor. Neither team shot the three-pointer well with both going 25% from behind the arc.
In the end, WVU committed 14 turnovers while forcing 17. However, the Mountaineers took advantage of the Bulldog turnovers scoring 26 points compared to Mississippi State’s 12.
Up next, West Virginia doesn’t play again until Dec. 15 against Norfolk State in Charleston.