WVU women’s hoops falls to No. 16 Kentucky

Gold and Blue Nation

Mountaineers can't overcome gaping rebound deficit as they take second straight loss

Mike Carey calls out to his team during WVU women’s basketball’s exhibition against WVU Tech on Oct. 28, 2021. (Photo: Jamie Green)

A difficult day in the rebounding column led West Virginia women’s basketball to take its second loss of the season to No. 16 Kentucky 83-60 on Thursday in the Wildcats’ Memorial Coliseum.

Kentucky out-rebounded the Mountaineers by a margin of 43-28 in the contest, which allowed the hostesses to capitalize on WVU’s rough shooting outing. UK grabbed 30 of WVU’s 39 misses, while snagging 13 offensive boards and turning those into 21 second chance points.

The Mountaineers kept it close in the first quarter, and even finished with a one-point lead after the first 10 minutes of play. After that, though, it was all Kentucky, as the Wildcats outscored WVU by 24 over the final three quarters.

WVU had no answer for forward Dre’una Edwards, who finished the contest with a 19-point, 10-board double-double on the night. Rhyne Howard led the contest with 27 points, including five three-pointers.

Esmery Martinez did add a double-double for West Virginia, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Kari Niblack added five boards to the effort, but she was the only other WVU player to grab more than two in the game.

By contrast, seven Kentucky players had at least four rebounds, including Howard and Edwards.

WVU guard KK Deans had a strong offensive night, pacing her team with 20 points on 61.5 percent shooting. She was the only double-digit shot taker to make more than half of her shots — in fact, Blessing Ejiofor, who played eight minutes and took only two attempts, was the only Mountaineer at or above 50 percent besides Deans.

This contest tipped off the Big 12/SEC Women’s Basketball Challenge, which will see all of the Big 12’s programs square off against SEC opponents. WVU opens the event with a loss for its league, with nine more matchups set to go on through Sunday.

West Virginia falls to 4-2 on the season and heads back to Morgantown with two straight losses. The Mountaineers return to the court on Tuesday when they face Charlotte at the WVU Coliseum before heading to Harrisonburg, Va. to face James Madison on Dec. 12.

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