The West Virginia women’s basketball team overcame tough adversity in the second half without Kysre Gondrezick, to defeat the TCU Horned Frogs, 81-78, on Saturday afternoon.
Esmery Martinez had a double-double, posting 21 points and 12 rebounds in countering Lauren Heard’s career-high 38 points. Kirsten Deans and Gondrezick added 15 and 14 points, respectively, in order to ensure the Mountaineer victory.
Head coach Mike Carey noted that the victory was a result of crucial play from top to bottom.
“I thought Jayla (Hemingway) came off the bench and stepped up, when Madisen (Smith) went down Jasmine (Carson) stepped up, and I thought that Blessing (Ejifor) came out and hit a big shot when we were struggling to score,” Carey said.
Once again, the Mountaineers were able to dominate the paint and Martinez played a massive part in that. West Virginia led in paint points by 42-28, with most of TCU’s points coming from Heard from outside.
The win was huge for the Mountaineers, who lost Gondrezick for the entire second half as well as Smith who left the game in the third quarter.
“I give the girls that were on the floor at the end a lot of credit,” Carey said. “It just seemed like we kept losing a player, and we were able to pull out the win.”
Heard's four three-pointers were countered by fast break points from the Mountaineers, with Hemingway's return to the lineup making a big difference for West Virginia.
“She did a great job defensively, I thought her and Jasmine did great,” Carey said. “She had to stay in there from the middle of the third all the way through and I was worried with conditioning at that time but it is what it is.”
Down the stretch, West Virginia played well despite missing players. Carey was extremely impressed with the perseverance of his squad.
“Kari (Niblack) got four fouls, and that was a problem, so normally we would try and go inside but we couldn't,” Carey said.
The win helped West Virginia get back on track after a tough loss to Oklahoma. With the win, West Virginia remains in second place in the Big 12 behind Baylor.
The Mountaineers return to action on Feb. 24 against Iowa State. Tip off from Ames is set for 7:30 p.m., on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.