No. 21 WVU wins ninth straight over Iowa State behind hot second half from Gondrezick

Gold and Blue Nation

No. 21 West Virginia women’s hoops won its ninth straight game on Saturday, defeating Iowa State at home, 65-56.

WVU leading scorer Kysre Gondrezick again brought the points for the Mountaineers, notching 24 points to put up her 11th 20-plus point game of this season. For the first time this season, however, she scored them all in front of cheering Mountaineer fans.

“It was great having a crowd,” said WVU coach Mike Carey. “Man, it was great having a crowd tonight. Hopefully the next game we can have more people but it was great having a crowd and I want to thank everybody that came out tonight.”

Gondrezick’s strong performance started early as she scored WVU’s first five points of the contest, helping put the Mountaineers to a narrow lead early. From that point on, however, Carey leaned on several other players for offense in the opening minutes of the game.

By halftime, six of WVU’s seven players put their name in the scoring column, led by Gondrezick and Madisen Smith with seven points each. The Mountaineers took a one-point lead into the locker room despite a rough 33 percent shooting performance for the first two quarters.

Iowa State’s Joens sisters posed early threats for West Virginia as they combined for 19 points in the half. Ashley, the Big 12’s leading scorer, was the first to reach double figures with 10 points at the break.

At the outset of the third quarter, Smith drained a three-pointer that kicked off a 10-2 run for WVU that opened the game up for the eventual victors. Gondrezick turned it up in the third quarter to keep it that way, making every shot attempt to add another seven points to her total.

“When I get the ball now, I have absolutely no fear,” Gondrezick said. “Whether that’s creating my own shot or creating for someone else, I have the green light to do that from both Coach Carey and the girls on the team when I’m out there on the floor with them, and they trust me, and I trust them as well.”

Gondrezick stayed hot through the rest of the game, adding another 10 points in the final quarter to help the Mountaineers keep the Cyclones at a safe distance until the final buzzer.

The guard was one of three double-figure scorers, along with Smith, who had 15 points, and Kari Niblack, who added 11 to go along with nine rebounds. On defense, the Mountaineers held Ashley Joens well below her season scoring average, allowing her 17 points.

“We continued to play defense, I was proud of that,” Carey said.

Carey was also laudatory about his team’s ball movement. KK Deans, who has had a slow start after making a return due to illness, added just seven points but dished out five assists without a turnover. As a team, WVU converted 15 assists and lost just seven turnovers.

The victory moves the Mountaineers to 14-2 on the season and 8-2 in the Big 12, slotting them squarely in second place in the Big 12 standings. Iowa State falls to 11-7 overall with a 7-4 conference mark.

West Virginia returns to the court on Saturday at Texas at 8 p.m. ET.

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