MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The sixth-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers are off to an excellent start - the best start in program history, to be exact. Consistent and steady play on both sides of the ball has led to the creation of new records and a constant stream of wins being added to the column.
On Tuesday night, West Virginia travels to Durham, N.C., to take on North Carolina Central. The Mountaineers, now 11-0 and ranked No. 6 in this week's AP poll, have achieved their highest ranking ever, surpassing the school's No. 7 ranking attained in February of last year.
Combining this momentum with a recent win at home over St. Francis (Pa.), the Mountaineers will enter McDougald-McLendon looking to keep things rolling.
On the other side, NCCU transitioned to NCAA Division I status in 2007 before joining the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in July of 2010. The program has since found success at home, posting a 19-8 record at McDougald-McLendon gym. Last year, the Lady Eagles finished with an 11-18 record, earning the most wins of any NCCU Division I women’s basketball program.
The Lady Eagles (2-8) are coming off of a huge win, upsetting defending Big South Champion Liberty, 50-48, on Saturday afternoon. With the victory, NCCU was able to snap its seven-game losing streak.
Senior Jori Nwachukwu leads North Carolina Central in scoring (14.8), blocks (10) and rebounding (8.8). She is currently the only player to provide a double-digit scoring performance in each contest to date. Redshirt sophomore Chasidy Williams follows Nwachukwu, averaging 11.4 points and leading the team in steals with 18. Williams posted a season-high 18 points in the Liberty win.
Senior guard Shanise Blanks sees the most playing time of any Lady Eagle, averaging 28.7 minutes. She also currently leads the team in assists, with 13.
It will be business as usual for the Mountaineers, who expect to start Brooke Hampton and Liz Repella at guard, Asya Bussie at center, and Korinne Campbell and Madina Ali at forward. Ali continues to lead the Mountaineers’ scoring efforts, averaging 14.7 points per game while shooting 65 percent from the field. She was perfect against St. Francis, going 7-for-7 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
Repella and Bussie round out the top three scorers as Repella averages 13.0 points per game while Bussie put up a season-high 17 points and pulled down seven boards on Saturday evening to boost her season averages to 7.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Campbell also played well on Saturday, tying a season high with 11 points. At guard, Hampton added seven more assists and one steal to her stat line.
The Mountaineers hold a 3-0 series advantage over NCCU. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on www.MSNsportsNET.com with Travis Jones on the call.