West Virginia off to fast start and ranked at No. 25
NEW YORK (AP) — West Virginia coach Mike Carey was happy to have Tynice Martin and Kysre Gondrezick back this season to give his team more depth after only having seven players last year.
The Mountaineers have won their first four games and earned a spot in The Associated Press poll last week, coming in at No. 25.
“It’s very important. We’re about 9-10 deep right now,” Carey said. “Tynice just coming back, get her in there. She’ll play a lot of minutes. Get combinations together and get the best lineup for certain situation.”
It’s been a long 27 months for Martin to get back. She missed all of last season while recovering from a foot injury she suffered at the USA Basketball Under-23 camp in 2017. Then this past summer she was suspended before the team’s trip in August to Europe because of violating team rules. It later came out that she was involved in a legal case. She pleaded no contest to a battery charge earlier this month and was reinstated to the team a day later.
“I love Tynice Martin, she’s a great young lady. Been nothing but a great young lady,” Carey said. “It’s her fifth year, she’s a fantastic person. She’s a captain, a leader just a great young lady. I’m so happy she’s back and so happy things worked out and there’s no doubt in my mind she’ll graduate and have a great year and hopefully get drafted and have a great future in front of her.”
With all the time she’s missed, Carey said that Martin is still working her way back to being 100%.
“She’s not back in the flow. Her timing is off a little bit, she’s a little banged up,” Carey said of Martin. “She’s about 75 percent right now as far as being back in the flow.”
Martin played for the first time against Radford on Nov. 17 and came off the bench. She started the next game against Coppin State and scored 17 points.
While Martin has been trying to return to her old form, Gondrezick has been stellar so far this season after taking off most of last year for personal reasons.
She’s averaging 21.5 points while shooting 55% from the field.
“She’s been doing great. She’s been playing extremely well. Throw Tynice in there and we’re excited,” Carey said.
The Mountaineers have a tougher schedule ahead with games against Creighton and New Mexico in Cancun over Thanksgiving. They then visit No. 10 Mississippi State on Dec. 8 as part of the Big 12/SEC challenge.
“We have a really good non-conference schedule coming up,” the coach said.
Here are a few other tidbits from this past week:
RISING MOUNTAIN HAWKS: Lehigh is 5-0 for the first time in four seasons after beating Seton Hall on Friday. The Mountain Hawks topped the Pirates 75-68, earning their first win over Seton Hall since 1985. It was the first victory over a Big East opponent since 2009-10. That team went on to win the Patriot League title for the second straight season.
"I think this a team that has a lot of confidence right now, honestly," said Lehigh coach Sue Troyan. "Obviously when you have six seniors, a fifth-year in Meagan (Eripret), when they walk on the court, they have a lot of confidence, they know what we're doing, how we're doing it. They're really good at end-of-game situations and executing down the stretch.
"We talked about how Seton Hall was going to make a run, we needed to withstand that and I thought we just had a lot of consistent play across the board. And they had a lot confidence, I think they knew the whole time they were going to win the game."
Next up for Lehigh is a trip to the Bahamas for Thanksgiving to face Ball State and Fordham.
STELLA-R WEEKEND: Rider senior guard Stella Johnson had an incredible scoring weekend in the MAAC/ASUN Challenge in Orlando, Florida. She had a career-high 41 points in Friday’s win over Lipscomb and followed that up with a 39-point effort in an 80-70 loss to North Florida. Johnson had 18 of her points in the win in the fourth quarter. In the two games combined she hit 32 of 35 free throw attempts.
TIP-INS: San Jose State topped San Diego, 88-82, on Saturday to move to 5-2 on the season. It marks the Spartans’ best start through seven games since 2004-05 when the team also started 5-2. ... Iowa State’s Ashley Joens is just the fourth player in Big 12 history to score 30 or more points and grab 20 or more rebounds in a game in her performance against Texas Southern on Tuesday. ... The Big 12 has won a nation-best 86.3 percent of its games (38 of 44) through the first three weeks of the season. Sixty percent of the league remains unbeaten (Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia). ... Miela Goodchild scored 23 of her 26 points in the second half Sunday as Duke downed Troy, 99-85. Goodchild hit a school-record 16 points in the fourth quarter as she made 4 of 5 from downtown.