It took some “guts,” but West Virginia women’s basketball got back in the win column as it beat Charlotte 65-54 in Morgantown on Tuesday.
The Mountaineers had a difficult time to put the 49ers away in this contest, holding a double-digit lead for just over two minutes throughout the game. Most of that came when WVU held its biggest lead in the second quarter at 11 points, but Charlotte clawed back to get within a point at halftime.
WVU started to pull away out of the break to get in front by six, with the help of a six-point run to start the third quarter.
Charlotte muddied the game in the later minutes when they turned on the full-court press. This seemed to really bother the Mountaineers, who already had trouble taking care of the ball — they finished the contest with 24 turnovers in the game, including seven in the fourth quarter. The 49ers turned those into 21 points, but they weren’t much crisper on offense, giving up 21 turnovers themselves.
KK Deans led the Mountaineers, scoring 12 points in the first half. She did her best to put the game away in the fourth quarter, adding another to get her total to a game-high 20 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists.
Deans was questionable heading into Tuesday’s game as she was dealing with an ankle injury she sustained against Kentucky on Wednesday.
“[My ankle is] probably about 70 or 80 percent, but you know I have great teammates and they pushed me and kept me in high spirits, so we kept pushing,” Deans said.
Esmery Martinez led the Mountaineers’ game-leading rebounding effort, grabbing eight of WVU’s 39 boards to top the team — but the typical double-digit scorer notched just four points as she struggled to get into the rhythm of the game on offense.
“Esmery is going to be fine, she just needs to settle down and relax and play,” Carey said. “With that being said, we need to move the ball. Everybody’s gotta get a touch.”
Madisen Smith was the only other double-digit scorer for WVU, adding 11 points, while Jayla Hemingway and JJ Quinerly followed with eight points each.
WVU held Charlotte leading scorer Octavia Jett-Wilson to just five points on the night, while Mikayla Boykin led the team with 13. Jett-Wilson did, however, lead the team with four rebounds.
Carey wasn’t entirely pleased with his team’s performance, but he did have some positive takeaways.
“I don’t want to complain, we showed a lot of guts,” “We didn’t play well, but showed a lot of guts tonight getting a win. We needed a win bad.”
WVU next tips off on Sunday when they travel to James Madison to face the Dukes. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. ET on FloHoops.