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WVU Women’s Basketball

WVU Women Use Second-Half Rally To Beat Visiting Ohio, 88-79

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WVU's Kirsten Deans (3). (photo by Dale Sparks/WVU Athletic Communications)

The West Virginia University women’s basketball team were down by double-digits at halftime and were behind by as many as 16 before a second-half rally lifted the Mountaineers to an 88-79 win Monday at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.

Redshirt senior Kyrse Gondrezick led West Virginia (6-2, 0-2 Big 12) with 24 points and eight assists, while sophomore Kirsten Deans finished with a career-high 21 points. Sophomore forward Esmery Martinez had 16 points and 15 rebounds for her third consecutive double-double. Madisen Smith, a junior guard, also hit double-figures in scoring with 10 points to go with six assists.

WVU started the game by making just three of its first 14 field goal attempts with five quick turnovers and trailed the Bobcats (3-2, 1-1 MAC) 42-30 at halftime.

“Needless to say, we played a lot better in the second half than we did in the first,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “At least we played with some energy the second half. We had to go small. I thought [sophomore guard] Jayla Hemingway came off the bench, and she did a great job. Esmery was a little tired. She has been playing heavy minutes, and she is a little tweaked up from the Oklahoma State game, but she still had a double-double. I was told this is her third one (in a row). She is going to have a lot throughout her career.

“I thought KK [Deans], Madisen and Kysre all sucked it up and played hard. We started extending our defense and putting some more pressure on them, taking them out of their offense. I thought that was key. I thought that [junior forward] Kari [Niblack] did a good job when she was in there, but she was in foul trouble most of the game.”

For Ohio, Cece Hooks scored a game-high 29 points while Erica Johnson finished with 27 points.

Monday’s game was the last one scheduled in 2020 for West Virginia, with the Mountaineers due back on the court when they travel to Kansas for a Jan. 2 game at Allen Fieldhouse. Tipoff time will be announced next week.

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Tom has spent the last decade as a sports journalist based in West Virginia, most recently as the WVU beat writer for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and with previous stops at the Charleston Daily Mail, the (Fairmont) Times West Virginian and the Daily Independent in Ashland, Kentucky. He was born and raised in Cross Lanes, West Virginia -- where he currently resides -- and is a 2010 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University.

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