MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Three Mountaineers scored in double figures on Thursday as West Virginia women’s basketball blew out Robert Morris 72-42 in Morgantown.
Kyah Watson led the Mountaineers (7-1) with a season-high 16 points against the Colonials (6-3), but a massive effort from Jayla Hemingway helped the home team with a double-double, grabbing 11 of WVU’s 50 rebounds. Watson flashed a newfound aggression since joining WVU in the offseason, both attacking the rim and stretching out for a pair of three-pointers.
“My teammates and the coaches have both expressed me being more aggressive on the offensive end, so I think that was something to really focus on in this game,” Watson said.
Madisen Smith owned the story of the game, however. While the fifth-year guard scored just nine points for WVU, that total bumped her career point total exactly to 1,000. She became the 39th Mountaineer in history to score 1,000 points when she scored her final bucket of the game in the third quarter.
Smith hit a roadblock in her quest for the milestone as she got stuck on seven points in the first half. She was perfect on her first seven shots, making two layups and a three-pointer, but missed her next five shots to stall the celebration.
“It just got in my head a little bit, just knowing how many points I needed, and then I just got stuck right there,” Smith said. “Just letting it come to me, and then first shot in the third quarter, it fell, so it felt good.”
Hemingway added 14 points for the Mountaineers as she appeared more comfortable as a leader on the floor.
“I think she is someone that we rely on a great deal and I thought she just started to be comfortable,” said WVU coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “It’s hard to play basketball when you have to think all the time…and when you can start to relax — and yet relax, being she got eight offensive rebounds, so it didn’t feel like she was relaxed — but it was almost like she was playing so hard but the game was slower, and she made some good reads.”
WVU’s defense stifled the Colonials, holding the visitors under 30 percent from the field. Just one Colonial, Phoenix Gedeon, scored in double digits, adding 11 points before fouling out.
West Virginia inches closer to the start of its conference slate. The Mountaineers have three games between this victory and its Big 12 opener, and all three of those are away from home.
“I was really pleased with what our energy level has been in this week of practice and I thought, again, our aggressiveness was really good tonight, so I think we’re getting better,” Plitzuweit said. “I know we’re getting better now, and that’s really fun to see.”
WVU’s next game is against Penn State at the Nittany Lions’ Bryce Jordan Center. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.