The No. 18 West Virginia women’s basketball team returns to action against Iowa State on Wednesday night as it looks for the season sweep.
The Mountaineers will look for Esmery Martinez to continue dominating the inside and limit Iowa State’s Ashley Joens — the Big 12 leading scorer — from slashing and finding points in the paint. Kirsten Deans and Kari Niblack will close out the starting five for West Virginia.
Behind Joens, Lexi Donarski will pose the biggest defensive challenge for the Mountaineers. Donarski (13 ppg) — who earned her fourth Big 12 Freshman of the Week honor this past week — is joined by Joens (23.6) and Kristin Scott (11.3) in averaging double-digit point totals. Iowa State (14-9, 10-6 Big 12) will round out its starting lineup with Emily Ryan and Kylie Feuerbach.
The Mountaineers will look to limit Joens’ offensive contributions once again, as West Virginia is the last team to prevent her from scoring 20 points. The Mountaineers will have to defend her better than they did TCU’s Lauren Heard on Saturday, who dropped 38 points for the Horned Frogs. Donarski and Scott were not threats in the previous matchup and the Cyclones shot a measly 34% from the field.
Offensively, West Virginia will have to attack the basket once again after making 14 more free throws than the Cyclones in its previous affair. The Mountaineers went 83% at the free throw line versus Iowa State’s 25%.
WVU currently sits in second place in the Big 12 with the Baylor Bears continuing to hold strong in first place. Oklahoma State and Texas sit behind the Mountaineers in third and fourth-place, respectively. Iowa State rounds out the Big 12 top five.
Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.