Burton Helps WVU Grind Out Win
By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
February 14, 2010
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Sophomore center Natalie Burton provided 11 key points off the bench to lead the No. 8 West Virginia University women’s basketball team to a 55-46 victory over 13th-ranked Georgetown on Sunday afternoon in front of 6,754 fans at the WVU Coliseum.
Playing in front of the school’s fourth-largest crowd in WVU’s third annual Pink Zone game, it was Burton who provided the spark against the Hoyas (20-3, 9-2). The Perth, Australia resident posted her season-high point total by repeatedly finishing inside while going 5 of 8 from the free throw line in 14 minutes.
Burton simply used her 6-foot-5 frame to help outrebound a much smaller Georgetown team, tallying six boards. As a team, the Mountaineers (22-3, 9-2) outrebounded the Hoyas, 46-36.
“Natalie Burton was big for us,” Coach Mike Carey said. “Those were points we weren’t counting on. We did a good job of throwing over the top of their press with Natalie in there.
“I told Natalie after the game great job. I thought she came in and gave us great energy. Hopefully she’ll come into the Rutgers game and do the same thing. It’s a start. This is one we were imagining - that she could give us some quality minutes off the bench.”
Facing a team that relied on its quickness and full-court pressure, WVU gritted out today’s game by being more physical inside. Redshirt junior Madina Ali grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and was an intimidating presence for Georgetown’s guards and forwards who tried to penetrate to the rim.
“Madina Ali came in and got physical and did a good job,” Carey added. “We needed that. We weren’t doing well on the boards and she came in and gave us a presence, especially in the first half. She was rebounding, kicking it and got us going a bit.”
WVU came away with the victory despite committing 25 turnovers and giving up 20 offensive rebounds. The Hoyas entered the contest forcing nearly 26 turnovers per game off their full-court pressure, and sometimes made it hectic for WVU to even cross the timeline.
“At times we handled their pressure, at times we didn’t. Two things we emphasized this week – keeping them off the offensive boards, they got 20, and not forcing turnovers, which we had 25. So I did a hell of a job this week,” Carey said jokingly.
“I didn’t think if we turned the ball over 25 times and gave up 20 offensive rebounds that’d we win. Give our girls credit, they battled.”
Defense has been West Virginia’s staple this season, and it came through again today. The Mountaineers forced Georgetown to shoot 23.1% from the field and 13.6% (3 of 22) from 3-point distance. WVU also led throughout the entire contest, and outscored the Hoyas off the bench, 14-9.
WVU managed to shoot just 33.3% on a series of rushed shots, but made up for its difficulties by making 20 of 26 attempts (76.9%) from the free throw line.
Adding to WVU’s double-figure scorers were Liz Repella (11 points) and Ali (10 points), who recorded her second double-double of the year.
“I thought we busted up their plays, especially in the first half,” Carey mentioned. “Then they started going one on one and taking some better shots. In the second half we gave them some better looks.
“We didn’t give them a lot of open looks in transition. In the open floor they are effective. When they run their half-court sets and you bust them up, they aren’t as effective.”
The Mountaineers led 31-19 at halftime despite having some trouble breaking Georgetown’s full-court pressure.
After leading the Hoyas 7-6 with 12:40 left in the first half, the Mountaineers went on a 9-0 run over the next 3 ½ minutes to take a 16-6 lead. Repella scored on a fastbreak layup with 11:43 left, and 22 seconds later Korinne Campbell’s 3-pointer from the wing rattled home to give WVU a 14-6 advantage.
Burton followed with two consecutive baskets for WVU after Georgetown countered with a couple baskets to put WVU ahead 23-15. She later added two free throws with a minute remaining before halftime.
Georgetown’s Ta’Shauna Rodgers was held in check for most of the first halfand she finished with 12 points on 2 of 14 shooting, while Jaleesa Butler finished with 10.
“I’m happy with the win,” Carey added. “We have a quick turnaround. This win doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win Tuesday. We also had a great crowd. I want to thank everybody for coming out, and we hope to have them on Tuesday against Rutgers.”
The Mountaineers return to the WVU Coliseum against the Scarlet Knights this Tuesday at 7 p.m. The matchup will air nationally on CBS College Sports.
2013 Fantasy Camp Highlights
Fantasy Camp with Bob Huggins
Jordan Hamric prepares for Nationals
WVU helps in Moore, Okla clean-up effort
Final Big 12 Championship Report
Big 12 Championship Report