MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – For sixth-ranked West Virginia, the 2010-11 season has been all about breaking records and asserting control over opponents. A trend that will need to continue as the team travels to Milwaukee on Tuesday night to take on Marquette in an 8 p.m. tip.
The Mountaineers (16-0, 3-0 BE) understand the advantage of playing at home, as they currently have a 28-game consecutive win streak at the Coliseum. The team knows that the Golden Eagles (13-3, 1-2 BE), who currently hold an impressive 8-1 home record of their own, will prove to be a tough opponent on Tuesday night due to home court advantage. Trailing 3-2 in the all-time series, West Virginia has yet to collect a win at the Al McGuire Center.
“Marquette is playing well,” said coach Mike Carey. “They’ve beat a lot of Big 10 schools and the only two BIG EAST games they lost were to Connecticut and Notre Dame.”
Marquette last took to the court on Saturday afternoon, upsetting No. 14/15 Georgetown, 75-73, in a double-overtime decision. The Golden Eagles had five players score in the double-digits against the Hoyas, including senior guard Tatiyiana McMorris, who put up 19 points. She was followed by Angel Robinson who had 18 points and Courtney Weibel who had 12 points. Paige Fiedorowicz and Jasmine Collins rounded out the top five with 11 points each.
A strong team from beyond the arc, Marquette holds the third-highest 3-point field goal percentage in the league, shooting 35 percent. On the season, McMorris shoots 38.8 percent (31-80) from beyond the arc, and Weibel has collected the most treys with 32.
Senior guard Angel Robinson leads the team in scoring, averaging 13.8 points per game. She also has the most steals and assists on the team, with 46 and 78, respectively, and holds the highest average of minutes played (32.1 minutes per game).
“We better stop Robinson,” Carey explained. “If you don’t stop her she’ll go all the way to the rim or she’ll pull up for a shot inside the paint or pull up for a 3. She helps them move and transition and she’s very aggressive and physical. She’s a senior so she has a lot of experience. We’ll have to do a good job defending her.”
Robinson is followed in scoring by Fiedorowicz who averages 10.6 points per game, and McMorris, who averages 10.3. Sophomore forward Sarina Simmons leads the team in rebounding (6.4 rebounds per game).
The top three scorers will find themselves matched against a West Virginia defense that remains the nation’s best in scoring defense, holding opponents to less than 50 percent shooting from the field. Led by senior co-captains Liz Repella and Madina Ali who are tied at the top with 35 steals each, and sophomore center Asya Bussie who has a team-best 34 blocks, the Mountaineers are coming off of a game against Cincinnati in which the team had a record 17 blocks.
West Virginia has also held opponents to only 27.5 percent shooting from 3-point range, the fourth-best average in the BIG EAST.
“Our whole defensive philosophy is getting up the lanes and denying passes,” said Repella. “When we do that it makes other teams go one on one and that’s what we’re improving on.”
Offensively, Repella and Ali remain the team’s leading scorers, as they average 14.1 and 13.0 points per game, respectively. Bussie continues to round out the top three, putting up an average of 8.0 points per game.
MSNsportsNET.com will provide live audio and stats from the contest. Travis Jones will be on the call.