No. 22 WVU women’s basketball opens 2021 St. Pete Showcase Thursday

Gold and Blue Nation

Photo credit: Dale Sparks/WVU

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Nov. 24, 2021) The No. 22/23-ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team opens tournament action at the 2021 St. Pete Showcase on Thursday, Nov. 25, as the Mountaineers get set to square off against Purdue.

Tipoff against the Boilermakers is set for 5 p.m. ET, on Thursday, from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. The contest will be broadcast on FloHoops. The game also can be found on the Mountaineer Sports Network, including 100.9 WZST-FM, with Andrew Caridi on the call. Live stats can be found on tritonstats.com.

West Virginia and Purdue meet for the second time on Thursday evening. The Mountaineers’ first meeting against the Boilermakers came on Dec. 30, 1990, an 89-59 loss in Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Purdue (4-1, 0-0 Big 10) is coming off a 70-60 win over Marshall on Nov. 22, in West Lafayette. Three Boilermakers finished in double figures against the Thundering Herd, including Ra Shaya Kyle, who netted a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double in the win.

Purdue began this season on a three-game win streak, picking up wins at Western Kentucky, 79-69; against Western Michigan, 70-62; and at Illinois State, 76-64, before losing to Dayton, 78-62, on Nov. 20.

Kyle currently leads the Boilermakers in scoring, with 72 points and an average of 14.4 per game. She is joined in double figures by Abbey Ellis (13.8 ppg) and Madison Layden (13.6 ppg). Additionally, Kyle and Layden are both pacing Purdue in rebounding this season, with each hauling in 32 boards and averaging 6.4 per game.

Purdue is led by first-year head coach Katie Gearlds, who is 232-51 all-time as a head coach. She spent her previous eight seasons at Marian (Ind.).

West Virginia is coming off a trio of wins in its season-opening homestand from Nov. 16-21. The Mountaineers began the season with an 86-33 win over Saint Francis (Pa.) on Nov. 16, before defeating Kennesaw State, 78-58, on Nov. 19. WVU concluded its homestand on Nov. 21, defeating Radford, 83-31. Junior guard KK Deans led the Mountaineers in scoring last week, with 46 points and an average of 15.3 per game. Additionally, junior forward Esmery Martinez (44) also tallied 40 or more points through the first three games and is averaging 14.7 points per game. The Hato Mayor Del Ray, Dominican Republic, native also paced the squad in rebounding last week, with 26 boards and an average of 8.7 per game.

WVU is 30-9 all-time against its nonconference opponents this season and has won its last 14 nonconference games in the regular season. Of note, the Mountaineers hold a 28-3 nonconference record over the last four seasons.

Following Thursday’s contest against Purdue, West Virginia is scheduled to play the winner of BYU-Florida State on Saturday, Nov. 27, at a time to be determined. BYU and Florida State are scheduled to play on Thursday, at 7 p.m.

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