Mountaineers Host Bucknell

  • By Julie Brown
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  • December 27, 2011 01:45 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Only two non-conference games remain on the schedule for the West Virginia women’s basketball team before BIG EAST play starts up on January 4th against Connecticut.

That means there are only two games left for the Mountaineers (8-3) to prepare themselves for the high level of competition they annually face in conference play.

On Wednesday, West Virginia will play host to Bucknell in a noon tip. The Mountaineers hold a 2-0 series lead over the Bison (2-10), with the last meeting between the teams occurring in 2003. In that contest, West Virginia earned a 77-57 win at home in the Coliseum.

Bucknell comes into Morgantown looking for its first road win of the season, having struggled against Rider, Buffalo, Niagara, Saint Francis, NJIT and Cornell. Most recently, the team was defeated by No. 16 Penn State, 78-54, at home in the Sojka Pavilion.

Junior Felicia Mgbada and junior Rachel Voss posted double figures in scoring, with 12 and 11 points, respectively, and junior Lindsay Harbatuck grabbed 10 boards, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a strong Penn State team.

Freshman Amy Zehner leads Bucknell in scoring as she averages 9.8 points per game. She’s followed by sophomore Shelby Romine who averages 9.1 points per game, and Horbatuck who rounds out the top three scorers with 6.1 points per game.

Romine also leads the Bison in 3-point shooting with six of Bucknell’s 15 total threes this season, while Horbatuck leads the team in rebounding, averaging 8.0 boards per game.

West Virginia enters Wednesday’s contest having last defeated Mount St. Mary’s, 94-32, at the Coliseum on Tuesday, December 20th.

Sophomore Taylor Palmer continues to lead the Mountaineers in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game, including a game-leading 21 points against The Mount. She was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll last week for her fourth 20-point or better outing this season.

Junior Asya Bussie and redshirt-sophomore Christal Caldwell round out the top three scorers, averaging 13.1 and 7.5 points per game, respectively.

Defensively, redshirt-junior Ayana Dunning leads the team in rebounding, averaging 8.0 rebounds per game, the fifth-best average in the league. She’s followed by Bussie and sophomore Jess Harlee who each average 6.7 rebounds per game.

The team’s overall defense continues to rank among the best nationally, at sixth-best in scoring defense (48.7) and third-lowest in field-goal percentage (30.2). In addition, only Syracuse and Duquesne have scored more than 60 points against the Mountaineers.

Coach Mike Carey will earn his 500th career win with a victory over Bucknell on Wednesday afternoon.

The game against Bucknell has also been designated Fan Appreciation Day. Fans can go online at MSNsportsNET.com to print a voucher redeemable at the Blue Gate ticket window for one free admission to the game. Select concessions will also be sold at the game for only one dollar.

Live stats and video of the game will be provided by MSNsportsNET.com.