West Virginia earns impressive win at No. 10 Mississippi State

The West Virginia women’s basketball team overcame a six-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter Sunday to win at No. 10 Mississippi State, 71-65.

Freshman guard Kirsten Deans poured in a career-high 17 points for the Mountaineers, who improved to 6-1 with their best win of the season.

The victory also marked the highest-ranked non-conference opponent West Virginia has ever beaten.

Trailing 55-49 at the start of the fourth, the Mountaineers held the Bulldogs to 10 points on 2-of-14 shooting over the final quarter.

Deans hit a three-pointer to break a 64-all tie, and she went 4-for-4 at the free throw line down the stretch to help put the game out of reach.

The Mountaineers got off to a strong start and led 36-28 at halftime, before Mississippi State (8-2) put together its best stretch and outscored WVU 27-13 in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs made 9-of-11 field-goal attempts in the third period, before going cold in the fourth.

While Deans’ career-high effort was instrumental in the win, she was one of four double figure scorers for West Virginia. Kysre Gondrezick added 16 points, while Tynice Martin and Kari Niblack contributed 13 and 12, respectively.

Blessing Ejiofor led West Virginia with 11 rebounds off the bench.

Jordan Danberry had a team-high 19 points in defeat, while teammate Rickea Jackson added 15 points and nine rebounds in the loss.

West Virginia outrebounded Mississippi State, 46-34, including 17-12 on the offensive end.

The Bulldogs, national runner-up in 2017 and 2018, also hurt their cause at the free-throw line. Mississippi State made only 15-of-30 free throws, which was a big factor in its second straight setback.

West Virginia returns to action next Sunday at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center against Norfolk State.

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