WVU dominates Central Michigan to open Cancun Challenge

CANCUN, Mexico — The West Virginia University women’s basketball team opened the 2022 Cancun Challenge with a dominant 64-33 win over Central Michigan Thursday night at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Cancun.

The Mountaineers (4-0, 0-0 Big 12) dominated the Chippewas (0-5, 0-0 MAC) in the game, leading by as much as 31 points. Additionally, the WVU defense put in another impressive performance, forcing 24 turnovers, including 15 steals. Additionally, West Virginia conceded 22 points from those chances.

Offensively, WVU shot 25 of 55 (45.5%) off the floor and scored 40 of his 64 points in the paint.

West Virginia’s offense was led by two double-digit scorers, including the fifth-year senior guard Madison Smith, who scored a game-high 12 points. She was followed in double digits by the second guard JJ Quinerlywho finished with 10 points and six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

senior forward Tavy Diggs led WVU’s rebound effort with eight and added eight points of his own.

The Mountaineers took the lead early in the game and ultimately didn’t give it up as they started the contest on an 8-0 run. Central Michigan would add a record ahead of the first media break where WVU led 8-1.

The Chippewas would score first after the break, but West Virginia would add eight more points to their total to take a 16-6 lead after the first 10 minutes.

Quinerly sank a 3-pointer to start the second and added another hit on the free-throw line to extend WVU’s lead to 14. West Virginia held that lead at the media timeout in the second quarter, where it was 22-8.

From there, the Mountaineers’ offense began to blast the Chippewas as they edged CMU 10-2 over the next four minutes. Central Michigan extended the 22-point deficit for the remainder of the quarter, but West Virginia continued to counterattack at the back of the court, leading CMU 36-18 at halftime.

At halftime, Smith led all scorers with eight points, and West Virginia had converted 16 points from the Chippewas’ 14 first-half turnovers.

The two teams traded points early in the third quarter as the Mountaineers continued to hold a 20-point lead. After a three-pointer from Smith at the 8:29 mark of the third, West Virginia turned up the offensive again, beating Central Michigan 10-2 over the next eight minutes to extend their lead to 30 points.

After two CMU free throws, WVU would go 52-24 in the final 10 minutes of the competition.

Both teams remained scoreless for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, but two goals from Central Michigan cut West Virginia’s lead to 25 points at the final media break. After the break, the Mountaineers extended their lead back to 30 points and rolled to their fourth win of the season.

West Virginia comes out of play in this year’s Cancun Challenge on Friday, November 25 against No. 13/11 NC State. Tipoff against the Wolfpack is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. ET from the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. Friday’s competition will be broadcast on FloHoops and the Mountaineer Sports Network.

NC State opened its time at Thursday’s Cancun Challenge with an 82-73 win over Vanderbilt. Jakia Turner-Brown led the roster with 18 points, and Diamond Johnson had nine team-high rebounds against the Commodores.

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