Senior Salute

  • By Grant Dovey
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  • February 27, 2011 02:46 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - As the West Virginia University women’s basketball regular season concludes and the team is beginning to prepare for postseason play, there are also five seniors that are seeing their careers as a Mountaineer beginning to wind down. Madina Ali, Korinne Campbell, Vanessa House, Sarah Miles and Liz Repella are all playing their final collegiate games in the nearing weeks.

For Miles and Repella, the duo has become extremely close as the only four-year members and three-year starters on the team. This pair has been a part of 93 WVU victories and 3-of-4 seasons recording at least 21 wins.

“Sarah and I came in together and we have a really good relationship both on and off the court,” Repella said. “She’s a great player, but she’s also a great person too.”

For Miles, the friendship is something that is not only on the court, but also extends into everyday life.

“Liz and I have been through so much together from the dorms to now being seniors and leaders on the court,” Miles said. “That hits a soft spot.”

A native of Austin, Texas, Miles started as a shooting guard, before moving to the point after the graduation of Ashley Powell. Miles led the BIG EAST in steals (95) and assists (200), en route to being named the BIG EAST’s Defensive Player of the Year her first year as a point guard. Miles also earned the BIG EAST’s Most Improved Player the previous season.

“As a player I have learned a lot as the years progress,” Miles said. “I started as a shooting guard after being recruited as a point guard because Ashley Powell was still here. I then had to progress as a point guard and had to learn what Coach Carey wanted from a point guard.”

A Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist, Repella has been the heart and soul of the Mountaineers during her time at WVU. Repella has been named all-BIG EAST twice and became only the second player in program history to earn the title of academic all-American twice in her career. In addition, she earned the BIG EAST’s Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence and ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District II first team awards in 2009. She is a natural leader on and off the court, but does not take the credit for her teams’ success over the years.

“After watching tape from each year, I think I’ve improved every year and that’s all credit to him (Mike Carey) and his coaching staff,” Repella said. “When you have seniors in front of you like Yinka (Sanni) and Meg (Bulger) as a freshman, you learn a lot from them and what they do in games and practice.”

Repella currently leads the team with 13.7 points per game and has made a team-high 55 3-pointers in 33.8 minutes per game. She is only one of 27 players in program history to reach the 1,000-point milestone and holds the eighth-most points in a career with 1,539 points.

Ali, Campbell and House all took alternative routes to WVU, but they were all able to transfer in for their final years of eligibility to help the Mountaineers qualify for the NCAA Tournament last season and make it to the second round.

“They each have their own talents. Korinne is an awesome athlete, Vanessa is an awesome shooter and a great guard and Madina’s actions on the court speak for themselves,” Miles said. “She’s a captain after coming in from junior college and that speaks for itself.”

“Thank goodness for them because they have contributed a lot not only this season, but last season as well,” Repella added. “It feels like they’ve been with us for all four years.”

Ali has emerged this season as a sharp shooter, sinking 55.9 percent from the field. Her field-goal percentage is the seventh highest in the BIG EAST and ranks 16th nationally. Ali also had a perfect game shooting from the field (7-7) and from the free throw line (4-4) against St. Francis. Known as one of the toughest players on the court, Ali has had 10 double-doubles in her career and had a career-high 32 points this season against Syracuse.

House has continually been a force to be reckoned with on defense and played in all 35 games with two starts in the 2009-10 season. She has been a spark off the bench for the Mountaineers, making 63 3-pointers and sinking as many as four threes in three different games. House had a career-high 17 points against Louisville last season, and has a season-high of 11 against BIG EAST rival Pitt this season.

Known as one of the most athletic players in the BIG EAST, Campbell was all-BIG EAST honorable mention last season after leading the team in double-doubles (6) and rebounding (259/7.4). She was also second on the team in scoring, 3-pointers made and offensive rebounds, while starting 34 of WVU’s 35 contests.

Last season, Campbell had a career high of 21 points against Marquette and posted 16 rebounds against Duquesne. In 2010-11, Campbell recorded 14 points at Rutgers and 11 rebounds against High Point.

The Mountaineer women’s basketball team will send off the five seniors into postseason play after they face St. John’s on Monday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. for one final battle on the WVU Coliseum court.