The West Virginia University women’s basketball team (19-10, 10-8 Big 12) concluded its 2022-23 regular season with a 63-52 road win over Baylor on Saturday evening, inside Farrell Center in Waco.
Fifth-year senior guard Madisen Smith produced her third straight 20-point game, scoring a career-high 30 and adding a team-leading eight rebounds. The scoring performance marks the 10th time she has finished a game with 20-plus points and is the first with 30 in her career.
Redshirt sophomore guard Kyah Watson was the only other Mountaineer to finish in double figures, scoring 11 points. Sophomore guard JJ Quinerly finished with eight points and five rebounds while senior guard Jayla Hemingway finished with six points and eight rebounds.
As a team, WVU shot 44.9% (22-of-49) from the floor, including 91.7% (11-of-12) from the charity stripe. The Bears managed a mark of 37.7% (23-of-61) from the field while making just 1-of-9 of their attempts from the foul line.
Smith pushed the Mountaineers to an early 9-2 lead, scoring three baskets and adding an assist to help on all four of the WVU opening baskets over the opening three minutes. Baylor climbed back into it, leveling the score at 11-11 with 2:42 to play. West Virginia regained the lead, pushing it to as many as five points at 16-11, but a 5-0 Bears run set the score at 16-16 after 10 minutes.
West Virginia and Baylor traded baskets to the 3:35 mark of the second quarter. WVU fought to a one-point lead when Smith made her way to the line twice, making all four attempts to push the WVU lead to 29-24 with under two minutes to play. The Bears scored four straight points, pulling within one, but a Quinerly three and two more Smith free throws extended the WVU lead to six. Baylor managed a last-second layup as WVU took a 34-30 lead into the break.
The Mountaineers never trailed in the third, despite Baylor leveling the score twice. The first came at 41-41, at the 5:56 mark. WVU then scored two straight baskets on junior guard Kylee Blacksten’s jumper and Watson’s three-pointer, to lead 46-41 with under three to play. The Bears scored the final five points of the quarter, leveling the score at 46-46 with 10 minutes to play.
Watson caught fire in the early stages of the fourth quarter after senior guard Jayla Hemingway opened the scoring for WVU with a jumper. Watson scored eight straight points, including two 3-pointers, pushing the WVU lead to 56-46 with just over seven to play.
Smith scored her 27th point of the night, pushing the WVU lead to its largest of the game at 12 points with 4:31 to play. Baylor opened the frame 0-of-5 from the floor, making their first attempt with just four minutes to play. WVU led 58-48. Baylor trimmed their deficit to eight points twice, before falling 63-52.
Also of note, Smith’s 38 minutes pushes her to a career total of 4,542 minutes, which is the second most in WVU history and is just 15 minutes shy of tying the all-time mark.
With the result, West Virginia moves to 5-22 all-time against Baylor, including 2-11 in games played in Waco.
Next up, West Virginia travels to Kansas City, Missouri, for the 2023 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship from March 9-12. The No. 5-seeded Mountaineers will open play in the quarterfinals against No. 4 Oklahoma State on Friday at Noon ET.