No. 19 West Virginia survives late comeback from Kansas

Gold and Blue Nation

19th-ranked West Virginia women’s basketball extended its win streak to 11 on Wednesday after defeating Kansas in a physical matchup in Morgantown, 69-61.

The Mountaineers survived the contest as it staved off a late fourth quarter comeback from the Jayhawks and despite committing 17 turnovers throughout the game.

The game got off to a rocky start for West Virginia as Kansas’s Holly Kersgieter led the Jayhawks to an early six-point lead. That woke the Mountaineers up — they finished the quarter on a 19-2 run to jump out in front by double digits.

Things started to get ugly for the Mountaineers in the second quarter as they started to turn the ball over. Nine turnovers, to be exact, prevented WVU from building its lead — instead, it let Kansas chip it down by a point. At half, the Mountaineers led by nine.

The bright spot for WVU was Kysre Gondrezick, who started the second half with 15 points and just a single miss.

WVU opened the half on an 8-1 run to get its lead to 16 — its highest of the game. Soon enough, however, Kansas answered with its own run to get back within single digits.

Turnovers again began to hurt WVU in the fourth quarter as they seemed to come at critical points. The Mountaineers gave the ball up three times in the last four minutes, during which time Kansas came within four. It would be too little, too late, however, as they were forced to send WVU to the line, eventually putting the game out of reach.

Gondrezick led the Mountaineers with 19 points in the game, although she couldn’t keep her hot first half going into the second. She made just one field goal in 12 attempts in the last two quarters, missing all four of her three-pointers. For the game, she shot 6-for-18 with two assists and three rebounds.

Gondrezick was one of four Mountaineers in double figures — Kari Niblack and Esmery Martinez both added 17 points, while Kirsten Deans chipped in 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Kersgieter was the star for Kansas, pacing the squad with 25 points and six rebounds. Tina Stephens added 11 points as the only Jayhawk in double-digits.

The win bumps West Virginia to 10-2 in the Big 12, one game behind Baylor for first place, with a 16-2 overall record. Kansas falls to 7-10 overall, and 3-8 in the conference.

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