Women's Basketball, WVU Sports

NOTEBOOK: Ankle injury will not keep WVU guard J.J. Quinerly out of NCAA tournament

MORGANTOWN — It will take a lot more than a sore ankle to keep J.J. Quinerly out of her first NCAA tournament.

That’s the message the WVU women’s basketball guard conveyed Monday, while sitting behind a table and microphone with a grin from ear to ear talking about Friday’s first-round matchup against No. 25 Arizona.

“I’m doing pretty good,” she said. “Just getting back into everything. I actually just got out of treatment, so yeah, I’m doing good.

“I’m just excited about the experience of getting to play in the NCAA tournament. It’s been a dream of mine all of my life.”


Quinerly established herself as one of the top overall players in the Big 12 this season, scoring 14.3 points and finishing third in the conference with 63 steals.

She was just one of four unanimous selections for all-Big 12 first team.

All of that took a back seat, though, when she rolled her right ankle in the second quarter against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament.

She came back to play after halftime and scored nine of her 18 points in the third quarter, only to further aggravate it late in the fourth quarter, when she had to be helped off the floor by team trainers.

The Mountaineers (19-11), the No. 10 seed in the Greenville 1 Region, will have six days in between games, hopefully enough time for Quinerly to get back to her old self.

“Sunday was a pretty light day for us and she did really well and didn’t have any issues with it,” WVU head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said. “We’ll be more aggressive with practice (Monday), so we’ll kind of see and monitor and make sure she’s in a good position to play.”

Hello, Esmery

The Mountaineers watched the selection show in the team’s film room on Sunday night.

Once some players saw WVU’s matchup was against Arizona (21-9) their minds went to former teammate Esmery Martinez.

“Immediately,” is the way WVU guard Madisen Smith put it, a teammate with Martinez for three years. “We know that she transferred there. It’s cool to be able to see her again.”

In her three seasons at WVU under former coach Mike Carey, Martinez scored 878 points and grabbed 785 rebounds.

A native of Hato Mayor Del Ray in the Dominican Republic, Martinez first came to WVU in 2019, after being released from her letter-of-intent with Mississippi State.

She earned all-Big 12 first-team honors in 2021, after averaging 13.6 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.

Her decision to enter the transfer portal was announced the same day Plitzuweit was introduced as WVU’s head coach.

Plitzuweit said Monday that she did have brief contact with Martinez prior to her transferring, but did not elaborate.

“Her ability to rebound, her size, her length, she shoots it and scores it,” Plitzuweit said. “She does a lot of things really well. She blocks shots. Overall, she’s a very competitive young lady and a complete player.”

In her first season at Arizona, Martinez averaged 10.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

“No feelings, it’s just basketball,” Smith said. “It’s cool to be able to play against an old teammate. At the end of the day, they’re just not on the team anymore.”

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