SAN ANTONIO — Kysre Gondrezick scored 26 points, Esmery Martinez had a double-double and 17th-ranked West Virginia used a couple of big runs to race past Lehigh on Sunday night in the opening round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.
The Mountaineers (22-6), the four-seed in the Hemisfair Region, closed the third quarter with 16 straight points to ensure a meeting with fifth-seeded Georgia Tech on Tuesday.
Kirsten Deans scored 19 points with eight rebounds and five assists for West Virginia and Martinez scored 16 points with 11 rebounds, both shooting 7-of-10 from the field. Gondrezick made 6 of 8 3-pointers and grabbed seven rebounds with five assists and four steals.
Emma Grothaus scored 14 points for the Mountain Hawks (11-5), who were in their fourth NCAA Tournament and first since 2010 despite finishing fifth in the Patriot League. Frannie Hottinger added 12 points and Megan Walker 11.
Deans hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half to cap a 10-0 run that gave the Mountaineers a 36-26 lead at the break.
Lehigh was hanging close, trailing 49-39 after a Grothaus 3-pointer, but then West Virginia put the game away. Gondrezick had seven points and the score was 65-39 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Mountain Hawks missed four shots and had four turnovers in the last 3 1/2 minutes.
West Virginia made both 3s and 10 of 13 shots overall plus 7 of 8 free throws in the third quarter, outscoring Lehigh 29-13.
Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks didn’t have the size or speed to keep up with the Mountaineers. They were outrebounded by 10 and shot just 30.6%. … Lehigh did win the only other meeting back on Dec. 27, 1999, in New Orleans, 89-73. … The Mountain Hawks played 10 games in January and just six since, only two in February.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers finished 30 for 55 from the field (54.5%), including 8 of 15 from 3-point range and made 9 of 11 free throws. … Gondrezick, who played her freshman year at Michigan, reached 2,000 points for her three-year West Virginia career.
The Mountaineers face Georgia Tech in the second round.