Kyah Watson’s 14 points leads a balanced attack, as No. 24 WVU improves to 13-0

MORGANTOWN — If basketball players were asked to announce their own games and sell the popcorn, that probably wouldn’t be too much of a task for Kyah Watson.

See, the junior forward already does a little bit of everything for the No. 24 Mountaineers, who remained perfect on the season Wednesday, following a 68-53 victory against Cincinnati inside the Coliseum.

Steals, rebounds, assists and being a tough defender, that’s what Watson generally brings to the table.

“She’s the glue. I keep calling her the glue,” WVU head coach Mark Kellogg said. “She is the glue who keeps this whole thing together. She has a really great feel for the game. She really defends and defends multiple positions and rebounds.”

BOX SCORE

Lately Watson has added scoring to that list. She had 14 points against the Bearcats (9-5, 0-2 Big 12), including eight in a first quarter that saw the rest of her teammates getting off to a sluggish start.

That’s coming off an 11-point game last week in the Big 12 opener against Kansas.

“It’s just being more aggressive,” Watson said. “That’s kind of the thing (Kellogg) wanted me to do coming into conference play. He wanted me to be more aggressive, so I’m just trying to do that.”

So far, so good. Not that it’s been easy by any means, because as Kellogg tells it, Watson’s character hasn’t always been that of being a go-to type of player.

“I think, by nature, she’s OK deferring to others,” he said. “We need a third and fourth scorer on this basketball team and she’s certainly capable of doing that.”

Watson was 7 of 12 shooting from the floor. Her only drawback was missing the three 3-pointers she took. She added four rebounds and three steals in a game where the Mountaineers (13-0, 2-0) had 16 steals.

“She might be one of our best shooters, but she just doesn’t look for her shot as much as she should,” Kellogg continued. “Again, that’s not kind of who she is by nature.”

WVU’s nature is it remained one of just seven undefeated women’s teams in the country.

That sets up the hoopla that will come with Saturday’s home game against No. 10 Texas, just the second ranked opponent the Mountaineers will have faced this season.

Cincinnati has faced plenty. All five of the Bearcats’ losses this season have come against opponents in the top 25.

“There are ways top 25 teams are able to play,” Cincinnati coach Katrina Merriweather said. “That’s what it felt like. It felt like another top 25 team.”

WVU forced 17 turnovers in the first half — Cincinnati entered the game only averaging 15 per game — and then backed off of the full-court pressure some in the second half.

Watson led a balanced scoring attack for WVU. Jordan Harrison added 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Lauren Fields and J.J. Quinerly both added 12.

Yet it was not the free-flowing type of game the Mountaineers have enjoyed for most of the season.

It was just the second time WVU was held below 70 points and its 13 assists were tied for the second fewest of the season.

“You find a way to win and move on. They all count the same,” Kellogg said. “There wasn’t a lot of rhythm to that game. We weren’t at our best by any stretch. Sometimes you kind of have to win ugly.”