#22 West Virginia Women's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers
Overall Rank: #22
Conference Rank: #3 Big 12
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West Virginia was left out of the NCAA Tournament despite a pretty impressive resume. They made a nice run to the WNIT semifinals, but the Mountaineers were hoping for a run in the other tournament. WVU did struggle with injuries last season and that caused some serious depth issues at times. With five key contributors returning and a large group of experienced newcomers, Coach Mike Carey will leave no doubt that his team belongs in the NCAA Tournament in 2020.
2018-19 Record: 25-12, 8-10
2018-19 Postseason: WNIT
Coach: Mike Carey
Coach Record: 371-194 at West Virginia, 659-296 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Naomi Davenport, Guard/Forward, 15.7 ppg
Threresa Ekhelar, Center, 4.1 ppg
Katerina Pardee, Guard, 10.0 ppg
Nia Staples, Guard, 1.7 ppg
Jala Jordan, Forward, 1.6 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Tynice Martin, Senior, Guard, 18.0 ppg
Madisen Smith, Sophomore, Guard, 7.2 ppg
Lucky Rudd, Senior, Guard, 7.0 ppg
Kari Niblack, Sophomore, Forward, 9.8 ppg
Kyrse Gondrezick, Junior, Guard, 13.2 ppg
Key New Players
De’Janae Boykin, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Penn State
Kirsten Deans, Freshman, Guard
Blessing Ejiofor, Junior, Center, JC Transfer
Esmery Martinez, Freshman, Forward
Arleighshya McElroy, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Rochelle Norris, RS Freshman, Center
Jada Wright, Junior, Center, JC Transfer
Tynice Martin will again be the leader of this team. The 5-11 senior tallied 18.0 points and 5.8 rebounds last season and connected on a team high 78 three-pointers. Martin will take all of the big shots for WVU, but she will get plenty of help in a very talented backcourt. Madisen Smith had a very productive freshman campaign and emerged as a consistent three-point shooter and quality passer. Lucky Rudd was a part-time starter, when healthy, and averaged 7.0 points per game. Kyrse Gondrezick played in just five games last season, but the transfer from Michigan is back and should be ready to make a big impact. With the Wolverines as a freshman, Gondrezick earned second-team All-Big Ten accolades and averaged 14.9 points per game. The frontcourt has more holes to fill, but Kari Niblack is a good place to start. As a freshman last season she averaged 9.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. Coach Carey has also brought in three junior college transfers to add some experienced depth and Penn State transfer De’Janae Boykin. She was a starter with the Nittany Lions two years ago when she averaged 5.8 points and 7.6 rebounds. If junior college transfers Blessing Ejiofor and Jada Wright can provide some quality depth in the post, West Virginia will not only return to the NCAA Tournament, but could push for a Big 12 title too.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.8 (77th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.3 (31, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.9 (99, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 35.5 (12, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.0 (84, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.0 (31, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.0 (104, 3)
Rebound Margin: 4.2 (71, 5)
Assists Per Game: 13.4 (143, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.8 (115, 5)
Madness 2020 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#12 Tynice Martin
Madness 2019 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#54 Kirsten Deans