CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Led by sophomore guard Taylor Palmer
, the West Virginia University women’s basketball team defeated Marshall, 69-57, at the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic on Tuesday night at the Charleston Civic Center.
After an extremely competitive and physical first half, the Mountaineers (13-5) came out of the locker room to start the second half holding onto just a 31-27 lead over the Thundering Herd (12-5). Both teams would continue to trade points, with Marshall threatening to within one point of the lead on three occasions, until a jumper from redshirt-sophomore guard Christal Caldwell
at the 12:13 mark sparked the Mountaineer offense and brought the score to 44-41 in favor of West Virginia.
A layup and free throw from junior center Asya Bussie
at the 11:32 mark followed by four straight free throws from sophomore forward Jess Harlee
brought the score to 51-41 with 11:20 remaining in regulation. While Marshall would threaten, bringing the score to 63-54 with 5:13 left to play, the Mountaineers would ultimately pull away for the win.
Palmer led all players in scoring with 17 points, having sunk three 3-pointers and on 6-of-8 shooting from the line. She was followed by sophomore guard Brooke Hampton
who scored 14 points, including a pair of threes and 8-of-10 shooting from the charity stripe. Caldwell rounded out the top three scorers just shy of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds, marking her sixth-straight game in double figures for the Mountaineers.
For her scoring efforts, Palmer was recognized as the Player of the Game for the Mountaineers.
Despite the double figures performances from these players, neither team had particularly strong offensive performances, with West Virginia going just 36.4 percent (16-of-44) from the field, 33.3 percent (5-of-15) from 3-point range and 80.0 percent (32-of-40) from the line.
In comparison, Marshall converted just 25.5 percent (14-of-55) from the field and 23.3 percent (7-of-30) from beyond the arc, while converting 78.6 percent (22-of-28) from the charity stripe.
Foul trouble and turnovers also proved key, as Marshall committed 30 personal fouls and West Virginia was called on 22 personal fouls allowing for plenty of chances at the line. Additionally, 22 Marshall turnovers led to 26 points for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia was out-rebounded for just the third time all season, the first two occurrences having taken place against Cal-State Northridge and Duquesne. Marshall pulled down 44 boards in comparison to 33 boards from West Virginia, allowing The Herd the opportunity to score 14 second-chance points.
“Give Marshall a lot of credit,” coach Mike Carey said. “We were out-rebounded, we turned it over and we let them back in the game and we can’t do that. We have to get better at that.”
Senior guard Lateidra Elliot led Marshall in scoring with 13 points. She was followed by freshman guard Shay Weaver who scored nine points, and senior guard Alaya Mitchell who posted eight points.
Weaver was named the Player of the Game for the Thundering Herd.
The Mountaineers resume BIG EAST play on Saturday, Jan. 21st when they travel to Pitt to take on the Panthers at the Petersen Events Center in a 2 p.m. tip. Live stats and audio will be provided by MSNsportsNET.com.