West Virginia women’s hoops tips off the Big 12 basketball schedule with a doozy — a clash at home with the top team in the conference, No. 7 Baylor. Action gets underway at 7 p.m. on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
The undefeated Mountaineers (4-0) are coming in hot after taking down Tennessee at home in overtime. WVU forced the extra period by some clutch offensive plays from guards Madisen Smith and Kirsten Deans, who both sunk last-minute shots to get the game close.
The star of the game was Kysre Gondrezick, who has been WVU’s leader through its first four games. The Benton Harbor, Michigan native is scoring at a 23 points-per-game clip, while adding 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds every contest as well. In the frontcourt, coach Mike Carey has gotten a boost from sophomore Esmery Martinez, who is averaging double-digit rebounds and recently etched her names in the record books with a 22-board performance against North Alabama on Dec. 3 — tying her for the sixth-best performance in program history.
As good as the Mountaineers have looked so far, they’ll have a tall task against Baylor in their 21st-ever meeting. The Lady Bears (2-1) are coming off their first loss of the season to 13th-ranked Arkansas on the road despite a 24-point performance from graduate transfer guard DiJonai Carrington.
Two things hurt the Lady Bears in the 83-78 loss that have been a thorn in their side so far: fouls and turnovers. Arkansas scored 30 points from the free throw line, coming off of 30 personal fouls by Baylor (the Razorbacks committed just 20). Baylor also gave the ball up 22 times, which ultimately turned into 20 additional Arkansas points.
The all-time series between West Virginia and Baylor has been full of memorable moments, and generally has been one of the biggest matchups at the WVU Coliseum in terms of fan attendance. For the first time in the matchup’s history, however, there will be no Mountaineer fans in attendance.
All-time, the Lady Bears own the series, 17-3.
Thursday’s clash tips off at 7 p.m. at the Coliseum and the contest will be shown on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.