The No. 18 West Virginia women’s basketball team was defeated by Iowa State 85-68 after a rough showing with the Cyclones pressuring the Mountaineers into 17 turnovers.
Kysre Gondrezick played against the Cyclones despite suffering an injury in West Virginia’s previous game against TCU, leading the Mountaineers with 19 points, but Madisen Smith was sidelined with a groin injury. Kari Niblack finished with a lackluster eight points, but it was revealed prior to tip-off that she almost missed the game as well.
Head coach Mike Carey acknowledged that missing players in the lineup hurts, but he was unhappy with the effects it had on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think we got caught up with people playing different positions and having to do things they don't normally do, but that should never affect the defensive side and rebounding side,” Carey said.
Iowa State’s Ashley Joens scored 20 points, Lexi Donarski added 18, and Kristin Scott poured in 18 in just 19 minutes after fouling out. The Cyclones finished at 48% from three-point range as well as 44.6% from the floor and flawless at the free throw line (14-of-14).
There was an opportunity for the Mountaineers to attack the paint, something that they typically do extremely well, but they were unable to solidify their paint presence against Iowa State.
“When a team [shoots a lot of threes], we have to go inside,” Carey said. “I told the team after the game, Kari had five shots, Esmery (Martinez) had eight. The weakness was in the paint, and we didn't get the ball in the paint.”
Iowa State dominated West Virginia in several margins of the game, posting better shooting percentages, more rebounds, less fouls, and far more points off the bench.
The goal for the Mountaineers after the performance is learning from the game and doing everything they can to ensure that it does not happen again.
“After the game, I pulled up a chair and said ‘I don’t even know what happened right there,’” Carey said. “We had no energy, no legs, didn't move the ball, didn’t defend, didn't box out, I can go right down the line.”
The loss was only the fourth of the season for West Virginia after riding an 11-game win streak in the middle of the season. Still, the Mountaineers finish the season with three more away games, so they will have to step up.
“I think it’s the first time in 30 years at West Virginia University that they finish with four games on the road,” Carey said. “It’s not a good situation, and with injuries and people not feeling good, we’re beat up right now, but I’m not making excuses.”
West Virginia will return to action against Kansas on Saturday. Tip off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.