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Women's Basketball: WVU Travels to Connecticut


By Julie Brown for WVUsports.com
January 03, 2012 03:58 PM
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Collegiate teams with little experience often prove to be the most entertaining collegiate teams to follow. They tend to win games that shouldn’t be won, and lose games that shouldn’t be lost.

The Mountaineers (10-3, 1-0 BIG EAST) have another opportunity to earn what many would deem an improbable win on Wednesday night, when they tipoff against No. 2/2 Connecticut at 7 p.m. at the XL Center in Hartford.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Coach Carey said. “All year long we’ve been telling the team that they need to be loud and they don’t understand why they have to do that. They’ll find out tomorrow night when there are 13,000 fans screaming and yelling. This will be the first time our freshmen will be in that type of atmosphere so it will be interesting to see how they react to that.”

The Huskies (11-1, 1-0 BIG EAST) host the Mountaineers having most recently defeated Fairfield, 93-40, on December 29th. Their lone loss of the season so far was to No. 1 Baylor, falling to the Bears, 66-61, at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas on December 18th.

They have four scorers currently averaging in double figures. Connecticut’s leading scorer is freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who averages 15.3 points per game on 46.3 percent (69-of-149) shooting and 40.5 percent (34-of-84) shooting from beyond the arc.

Mosqueda-Lewis is not a starter.

“They have everybody back except Maya Moore,” explained Carey. “They have their other four starters back and then Mosqueda-Lewis comes off of the bench and gives them that big time shooter like Moore was.

“We were looking at film of when we played them at the Coliseum last year,” he continued. “The game was close and then Moore came out and hit two threes over us and that was the game. Can Mosqueda-Lewis do that? Absolutely.”

Sophomore Bria Hartley comes in second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.5 points per game. She’s followed by senior Tiffany Hayes who averages 14.3 points per game, and sophomore Stefanie Dolson, who averages 10.2 points per game.

Hayes leads the Huskies’ rebounding efforts, pulling down an average of 5.8 boards per game while Dolson follows close behind averaging 5.5 rebounds per game.

Connecticut currently leads the nation in five statistical categories including scoring defense: 41.4, scoring margin: 39.3, field goal percentage defense: 28.5, assists per game: 21.2, and assist/turnover ratio: 1.66.

But the Mountaineers also rank among the nation’s best in several defensive categories, including scoring defense (3rd), field-goal percentage defense (3rd) and rebounding margin (10th).

“Their defensive style is the same as ours,” said Asya Bussie. “They’re up the lanes and denying the pass; that’s why I think it’s going to be a great game. Both teams focus a lot on defense and limiting scoring.”

Sophomore Taylor Palmer remains the Mountaineers’ leading scorer,
averaging 15.4 points per game along with her team-leading 40 threes. She ranks 11th nationally for her average of 3.1 3-pointers made per game.

She’s followed by junior Bussie, who’s averaging 12.5 points per game. She also leads the team in blocked shots with 27 on the season so far.

Redshirt-sophomore Christal Caldwell rounds out the top three scorers for West Virginia, with an average of 8.5 points per game. She led the team in its last outing against Elon, scoring 20 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.

Defensively, redshirt-junior Ayana Dunning leads the Mountaineers in rebounding averaging 8.5 rebounds per game. She’s followed by Bussie, who averages 6.5 rebounds per game, and sophomore Jess Harlee, who averages 6.4 rebounds per game.

“We’re going up there to win the game,” stated Carey. “We’re not going up there to lose and we’re not going up there just to make a good show. I told the girls yesterday I want to see who’s going to battle and who’s going to fight and who’s going to go up there and not be intimidated and try to win the game.

“No matter what the score is, it’s going to be great coming out of that game knowing who is going to battle no matter where we’re playing and who we’re playing,” he concluded.

Live stats and audio for Wednesday night’s game will be provided by MSNsportsNET.com.



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