Justin Jackson, Sports, Women's Basketball, WVU Sports

Kysre Gondrezick gets the point for West Virginia women

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Kysre Gondrezick admits she saw the writing on the wall.

In truth, when it came to her switch to playing point guard for the West Virginia women’s basketball team, it was more like a billboard.

“Once I saw everything happening,” she said. “I knew it was a role I was going to have to fit into.”

Chania Ray recorded 409 assists the past two seasons, but graduated, while backup Ashley Jones transferred to Temple.

That opened the door for former McDonald’s All-American Bianca Cuevas-Moore, who enrolled at West Virginia after graduating from South Carolina and would have been eligible to play this season as a graduate transfer, but in a strange twist, changed her mind and went back to South Carolina.

“What could I say?” Gondrezick asked with a smile. “It’s not like I could say no.”

No, probably not.

“It’s been an adjustment for her, but not in a bad way,” WVU guard Tynice Martin said. “She’s been a scoring guard, so now she has to ask, ‘Do I shoot or do I pass the ball?’ It’s been working out pretty well so far.”

In her one season at Michigan, Gondrezick was enough of a scoring guard to earn all-Big Ten second-team honors and she was a member of the Big Ten All-Freshman team after scoring 14.9 points per game.

She was a scoring guard, too, in high school. As a senior playing at Benton Harbor (Mich.) High, she averaged 40.5 points per game as a senior, once scored 72 points in a playoff game and was a Parade All-American.

Scoring guard, indeed.

“It’s a bigger responsibility,” Gondrezick said of the switch. “I’m looking out for more than just myself. My natural position was the two-guard and so all I had to worry about was shooting.

“Now, I’ve got to pass and tell people where to go and shoot and play defense. It’s definitely more responsibility, but I can handle it.”

Gondrezick’s transfer from Michigan last year created a wait-and-see type of buzz for this season.

The anticipation became greater when Martin, who averaged 18.6 points during the 2016-’17 season and was the MVP of the 2017 Big 12 tournament, went down with a fractured foot, leaving her unable to play and making her return coincide with Gondrezick becoming eligible.

Throw in Naomi Davenport’s quick transition from junior college to averaging 16.1 points per game last season with the Mountaineers and Katrina Pardee’s return as a four-year starter and the Mountaineers have numerous offensive options.

“It’s not just Tynice. Everybody on the team is such an offensive threat,” Gondrezick said. “Me playing point guard can be beneficial, because if someone starts scoring, I’m going to get them the ball. If I start scoring, they’ll get me the ball. We have so many offensive weapons that I think Tynice is just a bonus.”

WVU is still waiting to hear from the NCAA if De’Janae Boykin will be eligible this season. Boykin, a 6-foot-2 forward who began her career at Connecticut, before transferring to Penn State as a freshman, averaged 7.6 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Nittany Lions last season.

Freshman center Rochelle Norris tore her ACL during summer workouts and will be redshirted this season. The 6-foot-5 prospect was rated the No. 70 overall recruit nationally in the 2018 class. She is having surgery next week.

North Carolina State transfer guard Lucky Rudd is also sitting out practice with a concussion. Rudd won’t become eligible to play until after the completion of the fall semester. She averaged 6.5 points in 15 games with the Wolfpack last season.

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