Short-handed West Virginia women’s basketball team beats No. 18 Iowa State

MORGANTOWN — The West Virginia women’s basketball team finished with three players in double figures to earn a 73-64 upset victory over No. 18 Iowa State on Wednesday night at the WVU Coliseum.

Junior guard Lucky Rudd led the way with a career-high 22 points, while junior guard Tynice Martin added 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for her fourth career double-double. Senior forward Naomi Davenport chipped in with 15 points and eight rebounds.

The Mountaineers (12-4, 3-2) got off to a fast start and were able to fend off the Cyclones (13-4, 3-2) late in the team’s first win over a top-25 opponent this season.

“This was a big win for us,” coach Mike Carey said. “I thought in the fourth quarter we played extremely well. We got in foul trouble in the second quarter, we had to go to the bench a lot, and that was when they came back and took the lead. I thought in the third quarter, we played a little bit better, but again, we had a couple girls in foul trouble. In the fourth quarter, I thought Tynice stepped up, Naomi stepped up, and I thought Kari hit a couple big shots from the paint. We really needed those.”

The second period belonged to the Cyclones. After Martin’s basket gave WVU a 25-13 lead with 8:51 to play in the half, Iowa State executed a 17-2 run that took up nearly eight minutes. Iowa State’s first lead came with 1:33 to play before halftime, before Rudd halted the run a minute later with a three-point play.

The Kernersville, N.C., native made a free throw with six seconds to play in the half, allowing the Mountaineers to take a 31-30 lead into the locker room. Rudd tallied 13 points in the first half to lead the team.

WVU, which survived 13 first-half turnovers, was outscored 17-11 in the second frame.

The Cyclones were able to build a lead in the early portion of the second half before Davenport drained a 3 from the top of the key. That made it 43-36 Iowa State with 5:10 to play in the period.

With the game tied at 50 in the fourth quarter, Niblack cashed in on a 3-point play to give the Mountaineers a 53-50 advantage with 7:22 to go in the game. It was a lead West Virginia wouldn’t surrender.

From there, WVU got the job done at the line, shooting 15-of-17 from the charity stripe in the fourth period.

WVU finished 22-of-50 from the field in the upset win, and it held a 43-32 edge in rebounding. The Mountaineers shot 24-of-29 from the line.

Iowa State, which was led by Bridget Carleton’s game-high 26 points, shot 21-of-63 from the field. The Cyclones made just five of their final 21 shot attempts down the stretch.

“I thought West Virginia played with a lot more physical toughness than we did,” Cyclones coach Bill Fennelly said. “We just didn’t handle that very well and that’s a credit to them. Second game in a row we couldn’t shoot it at all and another game where we put the other guy at the free-throw line.

“You need to be more physical than a team like this on the road.”

Up next, West Virginia travels to No. 2 Baylor on Sunday. Tipoff at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas, is set for 5 p.m. on FS1.

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