No. 19 Mountaineers Defeat TCU 81-78 To Avoid Upset

West Virginia holds off late surge from Horned Frogs to avoid upset.
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The No. 19 Mountaineers had to hold off a feisty Lauren Heard and a late surge to beat the Horned Frogs 81-78 on Saturday to avoid the upset.

Esmery Martinez went for a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Kirsten Deans had 15 points and 9 assists, and Kysre Gondrezick, who sat out in the second half, added 14 points for West Virginia (17-3, Big 12 11-3).

Lauren Heard scored 38 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for TCU (8-11, Big 12 3-11).

The Mountaineers had to overcome a slow start after going down 19-11 in the first quarter. But they would get things going and put together a 13-0 run to end the quarter ahead of TCU.

Heard came on strong for the Horned Frogs in the second quarter. West Virginia went up by eight before she struck quickly with two layups and a three to knot the game at 36 with just over two minutes remaining in the first half.

Heard exploded for 19 of her 38 points in the first half. The TCU senior guard traded baskets with West Virginia’s Kari Niblack to end the half and the Mountaineers would lead 42-38.

West Virginia would bust the game open in the third quarter. Jasmine Carson and Esmery Martinez picked up the slack without Gondrezick in the game. Martinez notched 9 points in the third to keep the Mountaineers going, and Carson came off the bench to score 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting.

A 14-4 run and a 14 point lead for West Virginia with 6:22 to go in the third, but the Horned Frogs found a spark in their offense.

After Martinez rolled in a layup to give West Virginia a nine point lead, Yummy Morris sunk a layup and Michelle Berry drilled a jumper to cut the score to 62-57 at the end of three quarters for TCU.

Berry drilled back to back threes for TCU to start the final quarter of play and brought the lead down to one. The Horned Frogs fought down to the wire, and got within two several times throughout the final minutes, including 78-76 with :25 seconds remaining.

Jayla Hemingway and Kirsten Deans would net three free throws to keep the upset out of reach and secure the victory for West Virginia. 

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