Women's Basketball: WVU Women Earn 20th Win

By Julie Brown for WVUsports.com
February 01, 2011 10:22 PM
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The No. 14 West Virginia women’s basketball team earned its 20th win of the season over Providence, 59-45, on Tuesday night at the WVU Coliseum.

Maybe it was home court advantage. Maybe it was coach Mike Carey’s message that the team needed to play with its characteristic intensity again. Or maybe it was suffering back-to-back losses. Regardless of the reason, the Mountaineers (20-3, 6-3 BIG EAST) looked much better in the win over Providence, using team chemistry to pick up the crucial win and keep their consecutive home court winning streak alive at 31 straight wins.

Liz Repella led a trio of Mountaineers in double-digit scoring with 16 points on the night, including eight of the team’s first 13 points. She was followed by Asya Bussie, who put up 14 points while taking down six boards. Madina Ali rounded out the top three, playing through her injury to fall just shy of a double-double as she posted 13 points and picked up eight rebounds in only 29 minutes of play.

“It was nice to get that first lead and get back on the court,” Repella said. “When you get embarrassed like that, any player is going to want to come back and play and redeem themselves.”

“I thought we did what we had to do to win,” said Carey. “We were still a step slow and I thought we would be because of playing Sunday. I thought Madina (Ali) came out and played with energy and (Asya) Bussie came out and did a better job with foul shots, but we looked tired at times. We missed a lot of layups and points at the rim.”

The rebound battle, turnovers and free throws were once again the decisive factors of the game, with the Mountaineers outplaying the Friars (9-11, 2-6 BIG EAST) in every category. At the end of the contest, West Virginia had 35 rebounds to Providence’s 34, and had scored 19 points off of 19 Friar turnovers while only giving up 13 turnovers of their own. In addition, the team shot 78.3 percent (18-23) from the charity stripe to put away the win. Bussie alone shot 10-of-11 from the free throw line.

“For me it takes so many (free throws) so it was really important for me to make them today,” Bussie explained. “Every day in practice we focus on the issue of free throws. I get fouled a lot so it was good to see it pay off tonight.”

The Mountaineers reclaimed their tough defense, limiting the Friars to just 31.4 percent (16-of-51) from field goal range and 50 percent (6-of-12) from beyond the arc. They also notched ten steals, six blocks and 23 defensive rebounds to effectively contain Providence’s offense.

West Virginia got out to the lead early, going on a 10-0 scoring run to open the game. The Friars responded, using three straight 3-pointers from Symone Roberts, Lola Wells and Alicia Cropper to bring themselves back into the game, 19-14. They would hang around for the remainder of the first half, but the Mountaineers would eventually take the 31-22 lead into halftime.

“I thought we fought; especially in the first half,” Carey said. “There were times we could have blown them out in the second half, but we didn’t have the legs to do it. I thought we showed a lot of heart and fight today because we very easily could have come in here a lot slower than we were.”

An early layup from Ali, followed by a layup from Vanessa House with 17:21 remaining in the game started the second half off on a positive note for the Mountaineers, who slowly and steadily began to pull away with the lead. A combination of jump shots and free throws would add points to the Mountaineer lead, with Providence ultimately unable to chip away at the deficit.

The Friars were led by Mi-Khida Hankins who scored 11 points. Cropper and Roberts rounded out the top three, with nine and eight points, respectively.

The Mountaineers will take to the Coliseum again on Saturday, Feb. 5 to host BIG EAST foe Pitt in a 4 p.m. contest. The game marks the annual Pink Zone game, with fans encouraged to wear pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.

The game will also be featured as the Game of the Week on the BIG EAST network, with Bob Picozzi calling play by play and Kayte Christensen providing analysis. It will also air live on WAJR with Travis Jones and Jay Jacobs on the call.

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