On senior day at the WVU Coliseum, the No. 19 West Virginia women’s basketball team defeated TCU, 81-78, after a wild finish on Saturday afternoon.
In the first quarter, the Mountaineers (17-3, 11-3 Big 12) started out slow, having an early eight-point deficit. WVU didn’t take long to overcome the deficit, going on a 13-0 run to end the quarter.
Mid-way through the second quarter, the Horned Frogs (8-11, 3-11 Big 12) faced an eight-point deficit of their own but behind guard Lauren Heard, TCU cut the WVU lead to four at the half. Heard finished the first half with 23 points, missing two shots the whole half. The Texas native shot a perfect 3-of-3 from the three-point line.
Heard finished the game with a game-high 38 points.
WVU had to overcome adversity in the second half, as guards Kysre Gondrezick and Madisen Smith did not play in the second half due to injuries. WVU coach Mike Carey does not know the extent of their injuries.
After a 10-2 West Virginia run in the third quarter, led by Jasmine Carson and Esmery Martinez, the Mountaineers were up 14 points. Once again, TCU rose to the challenge. The Horned Frogs got back into the game fairly quickly, trailing by one in the early stages of the fourth quarter.
From there, WVU and TCU competed in back-and-forth play for the remaining minutes of the game. With 16 seconds left, WVU guard Jayla Hemingway knocked down two important free throws to extend the lead to four.
Hemingway was one of the players to step up after the loss of Gondrezick and Smith. This was the first game since Jan. 20 that Hemingway has played.
The Horned Frogs hit a quick layup after the pair of free throws and fouled K.K. Deans, who went 1-of-2 from the line. In an attempt to tie the game with a three, TCU was unable to get a shot off in time to secure the victory for the Mountaineers.
Martinez led the Mountaineers with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field. The sophomore from the Dominican Republic recorded her eleventh double-double on Saturday, pulling down 12 rebounds.
Deans finished with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting while dishing out nine assists. Off the bench, Carson finished with 12 points, knocking down two-threes.
The remainder of West Virginia’s regular season will be on the road, starting with a trip to Ames, Iowa, to take on the Iowa State Cyclones on Feb. 24. That game will be on ESPN+, starting at 7:30 p.m.