By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
December 20, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In one of its more complete games of the season, the No. 23 West Virginia University women’s basketball team defeated Fresno State, 72-52, on Sunday morning at the WVU Coliseum. Today’s contest was rescheduled due to inclement weather that occurred last night.
The Mountaineers (10-1) were sharp on both ends of the floor in their first game as a nationally-ranked team. Led by junior guard Liz Repella’s 21-point, 6-rebound performance, West Virginia was able to pull away in the second half against the two-time defending WAC champions.
Repella scored 15 second-half points while Wes Virginia nearly shot 50 percent (14 of 29) as it outscored the Bulldogs (7-4), 38-27, in the second half. The Mountaineers shot 45.5 percent overall and held Fresno State to just 30.9 percent from the field.
Entering the game, the Mountaineers were holding their opponents to just 33 percent from the floor.
“I was proud of our girls,” said coach Mike Carey. “I told them we made a lot of mistakes but at least we came out with energy and executed at times. We did a great job on this team. We penetrated well and stayed out on the 3-point shooters and rebounded the ball very well.”
Point guard Sarah Miles had another superb performance, scoring a season-high 16 points with six rebounds and six assists. The San Antonio, Texas, native made all three of her 3-pointers as the Bulldogs focused on preventing her from penetrating into the lane. Miles, however, was able to dribble and weave her way into the paint on several occasions, either finding the open teammate or finishing on both sides of the basket.
“She’s getting a lot more confidence,” Carey said of Miles. “They looked at her stats where she wasn’t taking a lot of jump shots and they backed off. She hit some of them which was key for us. I thought she worked very hard on her shot during the offseason and then she broke her hand and we didn’t get to see it, but now that it’s healed she’s coming back around.”
Freshman center Asya Bussie chipped in with 11 points against an aggressive Bulldog defense. The Randallstown, Md., resident was effective at establishing position in the lane in the first half, creating chances for easy baskets and offensive rebounds.
West Virginia’s 20-point win was due in large part to its effort on the glass. The Mountaineers outrebounded Fresno State, 47-28, and Korinne Campbell pulled down a game-high 13 boards to add to her nine points.
“I thought Korinne Campbell rebounded very well today and Liz came on in the second half and started scoring. Overall, I’m very pleased and happy to get a win out of this whole mess with the weather,” Carey added.
The Mountaineers looked early and often for points inside, often creating lanes to drive to the basket. Their aggressiveness on offense was rewarded with 21 free-throw attempts, making 13.
After leading 34-25 at halftime, WVU extended its lead to 48-31 on a Campbell baseline jumper and then to 50-31 on a Repella layup. A deep Repella 3-pointer with 7:58 left in the game gave WVU a 22-point lead.
WVU led by as many as 15 in the first half after Repella’s jumper with 7:34 left made it 21-6. Bussie had 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting with four rebounds. Campbell had a game-high eight rebounds at the break.
WVU held a 21-16 rebounding advantage at the break.
WVU raced out to a 16-6 advantage in the game’s first 10 minutes after a Bussie three-point play. A Miles steal and a subsequent three-point play extended WVU’s lead to 19-6 with nine minutes left in the first half.
“Fresno State came out a little slow and missed some shots,” Carey mentioned. “Because of that we were able to get going a little bit, but at 10 a.m. it’s hard. It took me until halftime to get moving. But I’m proud of the girls to come out and play that early in a tough situation and get a win. I’m happy with that.”
The Mountaineers will play their sixth straight contest at home on Tuesday, Dec. 22, against Maryland Baltimore-County. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Miles' three 3-point field goals were her first of the season … Repella posted her second consecutive 20-plus scoring performance, totaling 20 against Longwood … Campbell's 13 boards mark the third time she has tallied double-digit rebounds this year ... West Virginia has won six consecutive games by 20 or more points ... dating back to last season, WVU has now won nine straight home games ... the Mountaineers' eight-game winning streak is their longest since winning nine in a row during the 2007-08 season ... WVU is now 50-3 (.943) all-time at home in non-conference play under Carey.