SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The No. 4-seeded West Virginia University women’s basketball team begins its NCAA Tournament journey tonight as the Mountaineers open tournament play against No. 13-seed Lehigh at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio.
Opening tip against the Mountain Hawks is set for 8 p.m. Dan Zangrilli will call the game for the Mountaineer Sports Network from Learfield IMG College. The game can be found on 98.3 FM/1490 AM (WBKE), as well as affiliates across the state, the TuneIn Radio App and WVUSports.com. Sunday’s contest also will be broadcast on ESPNU, with Roy Philpott and Brooke Weisbrod on the call.
West Virginia (21-6, 13-5 Big 12) and Lehigh (10-5, 7-5 Patriot League) meet for the second time in the all-time series and for the first time since the 1999-00 season. The Mountain Hawks won the only meeting between the two teams, which took place at a neutral site on Dec. 27, 1999. LU took the contest, 89-73, in the Tulane/Doubletree Classic at Fogleman Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Lehigh is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010 and its fourth in program history. The Mountain Hawks finished in fifth place in the Patriot League at the end of the regular season, but won their conference tournament to punch their ticket as an automatic qualifier for this year’s tournament.
LU is led by sophomore guard/forward Frannie Hottinger, who is averaging a team-best 14.3 points per game. Hottinger also leads Lehigh in rebounding this year, with 101 an average of 6.7 per game. Senior guard Mary Clougherty and junior forward Emma Grothaus also are averaging double figures in scoring this year, at 12.1 and 11.1 points per game respectively. Junior guard Megan Walker is Lehigh’s leader in assists this year, with 65, while fellow junior Claire Steals paces the team in steals, with 22.
West Virginia finished the regular season tied for second in the Big 12 Conference and earned the No. 2 seed in this year’s Big 12 Championship at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. WVU advanced all the way to the Big 12 Championship title game for the first time since 2017 and for the third time since joining the league in 2012-13. West Virginia enters the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches poll.
Redshirt senior guard Kysre Gondrezick currently leads the Mountaineers in scoring at 19.9 points per game and is one of three student-athletes averaging in double figures this season. Sophomores Kirsten Deans and Esmery Martinez each are scoring 13.6 points per game this year. Gondrezick also leads the team in assists, with 117, while Martinez paces the team on the glass, with 315 rebounds. Junior forward Kari Niblack holds the team lead in blocks, with 42.
Earlier this week, Gondrezick earned Honorable Mention status on this year’s Associated Press All-America team.