CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Redshirt sophomore Ayana Dunning put up a career-high 16 points off the bench to lead ninth-ranked West Virginia to a 78-21 victory over in-state rival Marshall in the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic on Wednesday night.
In addition to her double-digit scoring performance, Dunning also pulled down seven rebounds in 18 minutes of play to earn the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic MVP award for West Virginia.
Freshman Taylor Palmer
came in second on the team in scoring, adding 14 points of her own and taking down four boards in only 22 minutes of play. Brooke Hampton
rounded out the top three scorers, contributing nine points from the field and dishing out five assists. Altogether, the bench provided 53 of West Virginia’s 78 points.
“I was glad to see YaYa (Ayana Dunning) get some confidence there,” said head coach Mike Carey. “She came in and was very aggressive. Taylor Palmer
came in off the bench to hit some threes and Brooke Hampton
has been playing well as a freshman, so we have some pieces, but we have to continue to get better.”
The Mountaineers dominated the struggling Thundering Herd (5-12) from the beginning in every category, using several lengthy scoring runs and a stifling defense to shut down any offense Marshall might have been able to put together.
Turnovers proved to be the game changer early on in the first half, with Marshall turning the ball over 14 times, allowing the Mountaineers an opportunity to capitalize and score 22 points. By the end of the game, Marshall had accumulated a total of 28 turnovers from which the Mountaineers had scored 39 points.
Liz Repella led the defense in steals with five on the night. She was followed by Dunning who had four, and Vanessa House and Asya Bussie
who each had two.
“We knew they were going to be ready to play,” Repella said. “Every time WVU and Marshall play, everyone will be ready to play. We have a lot of potential and I don’t think we’ve reached it yet. When everybody is on their game, we play defense and when we hit shots it’s a bonus and that’s what we were doing tonight.”
In keeping with their trend of holding teams to less than 50 percent shooting from the field, West Virginia held Marshall to 11.1 percent (5-of-45) from the field and 9.1 percent (1-of-11) from beyond the arc. In limiting the Thundering Herd to only five field goals, the Mountaineers set a new school record as the previous low was seven field goals made by Akron on November 29, 2002.
In contrast, the Mountaineers shot 46.6 percent (27-of-58) from the field, and 47.8 percent (11-of-23) from the 3-point line.
The win marks the Mountaineers’ (18-1) sixth-straight victory over Marshall, with the team able to post the program’s largest margin of victory since defeating Presbyterian by 67 points in December of 2007. The team was also able to post a new school record for fewest points allowed in a game (21), the previous record being 26 points, also against Presbyterian in December of 2007.
Marshall was led in scoring by sophomore forward Adrian Randall and sophomore guard Tessa Johnson, each having scored five points.
The Mountaineers return to action at the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, playing host to USF in a 4 p.m. tip. MSNsportsNET.com will provide live video and stats, and WVPBS will also air the game with Hoppy Kercheval and Warren Baker on the call. Saturday’s contest also marks Alumni Day.