#30 West Virginia Women's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers
Overall Rank: #30
Conference Rank: #4 Big 12
West Virginia Logo
West Virginia started off strong last year. In mid-January, they were 13-1, which included victories over ranked teams like Mississippi State and Michigan State. After that the Mountaineers hit the heart of Big 12 play and pretty much fell apart. WVU won just four of their next 15 games to finish out the season. That is not exactly the momentum Coach Mike Carey was hoping for entering the 2020-2021 campaign, but with four starters and much of his depth returning, this group should be able to play more like they did in December and less like February.
2019-20 Record: 17-12, 7-11
Coach: Mike Carey
Coach Record: 371-194 at West Virginia, 659-296 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Tynice Martin, Guard, 14.5 ppg
Arleighshya McElroy, Guard, 3.3 ppg
Lucky Rudd, Guard, 2.4 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Kysre Gondrezick, Senior, Guard, 15.3 ppg
Kari Niblack, Junior, Forward, 10.3 ppg
Madisen Smith, Junior, Guard, 7.0 ppg
Kirsten Deans, Sophomore, Guard, 5.4 ppg
Esmery Martinez, Sophomore, Forward, 5.4 ppg
Rochelle Norris, Sophomore, Center, 3.5 ppg
Blessing Ejiofor, Senior, Center, 2.1 ppg
Key New Players
Jasmine Carson, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Georgia Tech, pending waiver
Ariel Cummings, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
JeAnna Cunningham, Freshman, Center
Jayla Hemingway, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Mississippi State
Taziah Jenks, Freshman, Guard
Abby Ogle, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Kysre Gondrezick did not disappoint in her long awaited debut full season with the Mountaineers. Back in 2016-2017, Gondrezick was an All-Big Ten Second-Team honoree as a freshman at Michigan. She sat out the following year and then missed nearly all of the 2018-2019 campaign for personal reasons. But once she finally got a chance to show what she could do at WVU, Gondrezick averaged 15.3 points and 3.2 assists. Now that she is back in the flow, expect even better things from Gondrezick in 2020-2021. Madisen Smith and Kirsten Deans are both capable of stepping up their scoring output to help replace Tynice Martin’s 14.5 points per game. The frontcourt returns regular starters Kari Niblack and Blessing Ejiofor. Niblack is the team’s main interior scoring threat and averaged 10.3 points per game on top of her team high 6.9 points and 2.1 blocks. Ejiofor is an experienced senior who always works hard on the defensive end. She averaged a mere 2.1 points per game last season, but WVU does not need her to score. Sophomores Esmery Martinez and Rochelle Norris will both push for starting jobs this year, but either way West Virginia will feel very good about their frontcourt depth. Coach Carey has also built this team to win now with the addition of two junior college transfers and Jayla Hemingway, a transfer from Mississippi State.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 64.0 (202nd in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.3 (96, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 38.5 (242, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.8 (74, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (201, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 29.3 (258, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.6 (257, 8)
Rebound Margin: 1.9 (126, 6)
Assists Per Game: 12.3 (212, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.1 (135, 4)