The West Virginia women's basketball team fell to Georgia Tech, 73-56, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to end its season on Tuesday night.
The Mountaineers only managed three players with double-digit points, as Esmery Martinez had 13, Kari Niblack posted 12 and Kirsten Deans added 11. On the other end, Georgia Tech was led by Lotta-Maj Lahtinen’s 22 points and a 21-point, 12-rebound double-double from Lorela Cubaj.
The teams were deadlocked in the first quarter, trading blows throughout the majority of the first frame. The Mountaineers got out to a 15-6 lead with just under three minutes remaining, but the Yellow Jackets pulled it back to a two-point deficit at the end of the first.
The game remained close in the second quarter, with Georgia Tech taking a 29-27 lead halfway through the period. The Mountaineers found themselves down 36-32 going into halftime.
The third quarter was when Georgia Tech opened up its lead on West Virginia. The Yellow Jackets outscored the Mountaineers, 22-9, in the third quarter after Lahtinen and Cubaj took over the game.
West Virginia could not manage to chip into the 58-41 lead going into the fourth quarter. It was Cubaj down the stretch who added five points to ice the game in favor of Georgia Tech.
Leading scorer Kysre Gondrezick had just three points in 35 minutes in what was a tough night for the Mountaineer offense. West Virginia also struggled on the glass as Georgia Tech grabbed 14 more boards than the Mountaineers.
Once again, West Virginia’s defensive performance was not good enough to keep up with an opponent. Georgia Tech shot 50% from the field, with Cubaj and Lahtinen each shooting at a 60% clip.
West Virginia was a No. 4 seed after losing the Big 12 Championship game to Baylor. It was able to defeat No. 13 Lehigh in the first round of the tournament.
The Yellow Jackets earned a No. 5 seed after a win against Clemson and a loss to North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament. It took overtime for Georgia Tech to dispose of its first round opponent, No. 12 seed Stephen F. Austin.
West Virginia has only made the Sweet Sixteen once in the entirety of the program in a tournament that included 32 teams rather than the current 64. The Mountaineers have been unable to win two-straight tournament games in head coach Mike Carey’s tenure.