ROME – The West Virginia women’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a late run by the Dutch National team, falling 54-52 in the final seconds, Tuesday in Rome.
The Dutch National team hit two consecutive 3-pointers with 3:34 remaining to pull ahead from a 47-45 deficit. Down three points (51-48) with one minute remaining, Christal Caldwell hit a jumper to put the game in reach. The Dutch National matched the jumper, allowing the Mountaineers one final possession, in which Asya Bussie was fouled going up for a layup. Bussie sunk both attempts for a one-point game.
WVU was forced to foul in the final 14 seconds, and the Dutch National converted 1-of-2 to stay ahead. The Mountaineers’ final two attempts at the basket fell short as WVU suffered defeat in the final seconds.
“We had a six point lead several times, fought back and missed two open shots at the buzzer to tie the go ahead, so overall I was pleased, but we have a lot of work,” coach Mike Carey said. “This was a great game against a veteran team.
“This is a great game for us to play,” Carey said. “This is their 17 and up team with girls from ages 18 to 29 that have been playing together and have played together for a lot of years. I saw some positive things and some other things we have to work on. We missed foul shots and some easy shots from the floor, but our legs are not in condition to play the way that we play at this point.”
Every WVU player got experience in tonight’s game. Asya Bussie and Christal Caldwell led the Mountaineers with 14 and 10 points, respectively. Bussie also led off the glass with six rebounds and tallied five steals and a block. Brooke Hampton recorded eight points, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range, six assists and two steals.
All four freshmen—Akilah Bethel, Crystal Leary, Linda Stepney and Averee Fields recorded points, combining for 13.
“We are playing everybody,” Carey explained. “During the season we wouldn’t have certain combinations in, but right now we are trying to see who can play what position, what combinations work and it’s going to take time for me to see the rotation and what works best.”
The Mountaineers are now 1-1 in Europe as they defeated the AMW All-Stars in France on Aug. 10. WVU returns to the court with the Dutch National team tomorrow at 7 p.m. (1 p.m. ET).
“We played a veteran team,” Carey said. “We had a choice of playing the best teams over here and some weaker teams and we chose the better. It’s only going to make us better.”