MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 24/20 West Virginia University women’s basketball team looks to avenge its last season loss to Duquesne as it will face the Dukes on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.
Last season, the Mountaineers held the lead for 31 minutes but were unable to overcome a late run, falling 61-55 at Duquesne. The loss marked the first in 10 consecutive games and the first under coach Mike Carey.
This season, the Dukes, who are receiving votes in the Associated Press poll, enter Thursday’s game on a nine-game win streak, as they are 9-1 overall, with their lone loss of the season in a Preseason WNIT game to North Carolina.
As a team, Duquesne is similar to WVU in its defensive efforts as it ranks No. 20 in the nation for its scoring defense, holding opponents to 50.3 points per game, while WVU ranks No. 68 for holding opponents to 55.3 points per game. Duquesne ranks in the top-10 nationally in steals per game (9th) with 14.1 and in 3-point field goal defense (6th), limiting opponents to a 21.1 3-point field goal percentage.
Senior guard Jocelyn Floyd leads the nation in steals per game with 5.3, totaling 53 this season. Junior forward Wumi Agunbiade leads Duquesne in scoring and rebounding with 13.9 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game, and enters Thursdays game 21 points shy of her 1,000th career point.
Sophomore guard Belma Nurkic is the second-leading scorer with 11.0 points per game and is the team’s leading 3-point shooter, having collected 23 threes this season. Nurkic is the team’s leading free-throw shooter as she is 94.4 percent from the line.
Guard April Robinson starts as a true freshman and rounds out the top three scorers for the Dukes with 9.7 points per game. Robinson has also assisted in the 3-point shooting with 17 threes this season. In addition to her stealing efforts, Floyd leads four players in double-digit assist numbers with 35 and is the second-leading rebounder with 6.7 boards a game.
Senior Ayana Dunning
continues to lead the Mountaineers, who are 7-2 this season and looking for their fifth-consecutive win on Thursday. Dunning averages 11.2 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game. Junior Taylor Palmer
averages 10.6 points per game as WVU’s leading 3-point shooter with 18 threes this season. Junior Christal Caldwell
rounds out the top three scorers with 10.3 points per game.
Sophomore Crystal Leary
is WVU’s second-leading rebounder, behind Dunning, as she pulls down 6.2 rebounds a game. Sophomore Linda Stepney
continues to lead the team in assists with 27, while Brooke Hampton
has dished out 20 assists.
WVU leads the all-time series with Duquesne 35-8. WVU holds a 19-1 advantage when facing the Dukes on its home court.
Thursday’s game will broadcast live on Root Sports and fans can listen to the game live on WAJR. Live stats and a recap of the game can be found at WVUsports.com.