By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
November 16, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A late-scoring binge by Vanessa House and Liz Repella lifted the West Virginia University women’s basketball team to a 55-50 victory over Marist in the second round of the Preseason WNIT on Monday evening at the WVU Coliseum.
With the Mountaineers clinging to a 41-39 lead late in the second half, the duo was responsible for West Virginia’s next nine points as it gained an eight-point advantage with 3:01 left in the game. Repella started the key 9-3 run by hitting a critical 3-pointer from the right wing, and House added a fastbreak layup and a 15-foot jumper to build a 48-41 lead.
Repella helped put the game out of reach by adding another jumper to make it 50-42.
WVU’s second victory of the year gives it a matchup at No. 3 Ohio State on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the third round of the Preseason WNIT.
“We won the game, and that’s all that matters,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “We get to play Ohio State, and that’s something I wanted to do in this tournament. We’ll see where we are really at when we go up there and play them."
House finished the contest with 13 points on 5 of 10 shooting, providing a spark for West Virginia off the bench. Freshman Asya Bussie had a team-high 14 points and nine rebounds, and Repella added her 13th career double-double with 13 points and 11 boards.
“I thought Vanessa House came off the bench and played really well for us,” Carey added. “Thank goodness she came ready to play. Liz is still going to give you close to a double-double every game. We have to do better jobs as coaches and better jobs as players. I think we can have a really good basketball team; I like what we have. I just think that we have to get better.”
Marist, which entered the game receiving votes in the Associated Press preseason poll, shot just 23.4 percent from the floor. The Red Foxes could not find their rhythm from beyond the arc, making 5 of 27 3-point attempts.
West Virginia finished the game shooting 34.4 percent from the floor, but overcame a sluggish start to shoot 42.9 percent in the second half. Facing a 2-3 zone defense by Marist in the game’s final 20 minutes, WVU found it difficult to score inside the paint and was forced to make mid-range and long-range jumpers in the second half.
With both teams struggling to score in the first half, West Virginia made it clear that it wanted to score inside. Several offensive calls were set up for Bussie to exploit her opponent in the post, and she did so by tallying 10 points on 5 of 7 shooting while crashing hard on the offensive glass. Bussie was heavily responsible for WVU outscoring Marist 24-14 in the paint.
WVU stretched its first-half lead to as many as eight points on two occasions. With 5:50 remaining, Bussie’s layup gave the Mountaineers a 20-12 advantage. The Randallstown, Md., native scored again on an offensive put-back with 4:28 left to equal WVU’s largest lead in the game’s first 20 minutes.
The Red Foxes shot a woeful 1 of 16 on 3-pointers in the first half, shooting 17.6 percent(6 of 34). West Virginia did not fare much better, shooting 27.3 percent, but outrebounded Marist by a wide margin of 33-22.
Marist was led by forward Rachele Fitz and guard Erica Allenspach, with both players scoring 19 points apiece.