Kansas State surmounts 18-point WVU lead to steal win in final minute

WVU Mountaineers

An 18-point lead in favor of West Virginia led to a 19-point swing in favor of Kansas State as the Wildcats took a road victory over the Mountaineers, 56-55.

West Virginia seemed to run away with the game late, but a scoring drought coincided with the 19-0 run which put the Wildcats in front with less than a minute to go.

Shooting was a struggle for both teams early. While Kansas State took an early lead, the two squads traded runs in the first half to keep it close. While both teams were able to scrape points together, they also saw shooting droughts — the longest of the half belonged to K-State, who had a stretch of six straight misses in the first half.

KSU’s Angela Harris and WVU’s Tynice Martin were the two offensive threats for their respective teams as the only two guards that were able to find their stroke. Harris’s 10 first-half points led all scorers, while Martin was tight behind with 9.

Nearly the rest of the scoring came inside, with 22 combined points coming in the paint.

The first half stayed neck-and-neck until the end of the second quarter. The scoreline didn’t go more than 6 points in favor of either team and would be even as they headed to the locker room.

West Virginia’s defense locked the Wildcats down in the third quarter. The Mountaineers put together an 8-0 run in the midst of a more than 5-minute scoring drought by K-State, which gave the Mountaineers the first double-digit lead for either team.

This push was led by Kysre Gondrezick who scored her first 8 points of the game in the third quarter.

The Mountaineers started the final period of play red-hot, making four of their first five buckets in the quarter to pull away from K-State. A big run would eventually put WVU up by 18 points with 6:30 remaining, the biggest lead for either team all game.

That didn’t close the deal, however. The Wildcats put together a 19-0 fourth-quarter run to put themselves in the lead with 49 seconds remaining in the game. After Tynice Martin hit a three-pointer to give WVU the lead back, Ayoka Lee would convert an and-one to give the lead right back to K-State.

“We got the 18-point lead by playing defense. Getting up in the passing lanes, getting our running game going,” said WVU coach Mike Carey. “And then, all of a sudden, we quit playing.”

The final shot would go to West Virginia, but Blessing Ojiofor was unable to get behind the three-point arc for the game-tying shot, leaving the Mountaineers just one point short of tying it up.

“It’s about four games we’ve blown. About four games,” Carey said. “You look at our shot selection down the stretch, [we] quit playing defense, [we] quit rebounding.”

Harris finished with a game-high 18 points for K-State, although her minutes were limited due to foul trouble. Lee finished with 15 points and led the game with 15 rebounds, while Peyton Williams added 14 points of her own.

The Mountaineers struggled with shooting throughout the game, not making more than 35.3 percent of their shots in any quarter. Martin and Kari Niblack led the Mountaineers with 12 points each, while Gondrezick added 10 points.

West Virginia stays in Morgantown for their next contest when they host Texas Tech on Saturday. The action tips off at 5 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.

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