The West Virginia University women’s basketball team opened the 2022 Cancun Challenge with a dominant 64-33 win over Central Michigan on Thursday evening, at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Cancun.
The Mountaineers (4-0, 0-0 Big 12) dominated the Chippewas (0-5, 0-0 MAC) in the game and led by as many as 31 points. What’s more, WVU’s defense turned in another impressive showing and forced 24 turnovers, including 15 steals. Additionally, West Virginia cashed in 22 points off those chances.
Offensively, WVU shot 25-of-55 (45.5%) from the floor and scored 40 of its 64 points in the paint.
West Virginia’s offense was led by a pair of double-digit scorers, including fifth-year senior guard Madisen Smith, who tallied a game-high 12 points. She was joined in double figures by sophomore guard JJ Quinerly, who finished with 10 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Senior forward Tavy Diggs led WVU’s rebounding efforts, with eight, and added eight points of her own.
The Mountaineers took the early lead in the game and, ultimately, would not give it up, as they began the contest on an 8-0 run. Central Michigan would add a tally before the first media break, where WVU led, 8-1.
The Chippewas would score first after the break, but West Virginia would add eight more points to its total to take a 16-6 lead after the first 10 minutes of action.
Quinerly sank a 3-pointer to begin the second and would add another tally at the free-throw line to stretch WVU’s lead to 14. West Virginia held that lead at the second-quarter media timeout, where it was 22-8.
From there, the Mountaineers’ offense began to blast the Chippewas, as they outscored CMU, 10-2, over the next four minutes. Central Michigan cut into the 22-point deficit for the remainder of the quarter, but West Virginia continued to counter on its end of the court to lead CMU, 36-18, at the half.
At the midway point, Smith led all scorers with eight points, and West Virginia had converted 16 points off 14 first-half turnovers by the Chippewas.
The two teams traded scores to begin the third quarter, as the Mountaineers continued to hold a 20-point advantage. Following a triple from Smith at the 8:29 mark of the third, West Virginia once again turned on the jets offensively and outscored Central Michigan, 10-2, over the next eight minutes to extend its lead to 30 points.
After a pair of CMU free throws, WVU would take a 52-24 lead into the final 10 minutes of the contest.
Both teams were scoreless to for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, but a pair of Central Michigan scores cut West Virginia’s advantage to 25 points at the final media break. Following the timeout, the Mountaineers got their lead back to 30 points and would coast to their fourth victory of the season.
West Virginia concludes play at this year’s Cancun Challenge on Friday, Nov. 25, against No. 13/11 NC State. Tipoff against the Wolfpack is set for 4 p.m. ET, from the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. Friday’s contest will be broadcast on FloHoops and the Mountaineer Sports Network.
NC State opened its time at the Cancun Challenge on Thursday, with an 82-73 win over Vanderbilt. Jakia Turner-Brown led the squad with 18 points, and Diamond Johnson hauled in a team-high nine rebounds against the Commodores.