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Mountaineers Host Georgetown

By Julie Brown for
January 23, 2012 07:19 PM
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The West Virginia University women’s basketball team will be entering a critical phase of the season on Tuesday night when they host No. 20/17 Georgetown in a 7 p.m. tip.

The contest against the Hoyas (15-5, 4-3 BIG EAST) marks the first of five upcoming games against nationally ranked opponents. If the Mountaineers (14-5, 4-2 BIG EAST) hope to advance to postseason play, they’re going to need to come up with some big wins over the next few weeks.

“We have five ranked teams coming up and if we don’t play a full 40 minutes we’re not going to beat them,” said coach Mike Carey. “They’re ranked because they’re playing 35 to 40 minutes hard and if we don’t match that we’re just not going to beat them.”

Georgetown comes into the Coliseum looking to rebound from a 64-61 loss to Louisville at home on Sunday night. The loss marked the Hoyas’ third BIG EAST loss of the season, as they’ve also dropped games to No. 23/19 DePaul, and No. 2/2 Notre Dame.

They have, however, earned wins against Pitt, USF, Syracuse and Marquette.

Georgetown is led in scoring by junior guard Sugar Rodgers, who also leads the BIG EAST in scoring with an average of 20.0 points per game. She also currently leads the league in 3-pointers made, averaging 2.9 per game (55-of-176).

The Mountaineers need to be careful not to get into foul trouble against Rodgers, either, as she converts 83.0 percent (73-of-88) from the line.

“We have to know where she’s at,” Carey said. “They look for her hard on the fast break. She moves well without the ball and she can also put it on the floor. She’s a legit player and we have to be aware of that.”

Behind Rodgers, senior forward Tia Magee averages 11.1 points per game, while senior guard Rubylee Wright rounds out the top three scorers, averaging 7.2 points per game.

Defensively, Georgetown has limited its opponents to the fourth-lowest point total (51.8 points per game) and field goal percentage (33.7 percent), and to the second-lowest 3-point field goal percentage (25.1 percent) in the BIG EAST.

Because of this, the Mountaineers know that they will need to take extra care with the basketball and win the rebound battle.

“They get a lot of their offense off of turnovers which is something we have to be careful about,” said Carey. “They’re a veteran team and we’re going to have our hands full, needless to say.”

West Virginia currently trails 12-9 in the all-time series with Georgetown. However, they’re 8-2 overall when facing Georgetown at home, and have won six of the last 10 games against the Hoyas, including five of the last seven.

The Mountaineers have three players currently averaging in double-figure scoring. Sophomore Taylor Palmer is averaging 13.3 points per game, while junior Asya Bussie averages 12.5 points per game. Redshirt sophomore Christal Caldwell rounds out the top three scorers, averaging 12.8 points per game.

Caldwell led West Virginia against Pitt on Saturday, as she earned her second career double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds against the Panthers.

Redshirt junior Ayana Dunning leads the Mountaineers on the boards, notching 7.8 rebounds per game. Behind her, Bussie and Caldwell are each averaging 6.6 rebounds per game.

“I think the biggest key to this game is going to be rebounding and not turning the ball over in their traps, especially near half court,” Carey concluded. “I told our girls yesterday that I’d rather see them get a five second count than turn the ball over and let them have a layup at the other end. We have to take care of the basketball. If we don’t take care of the basketball, which we haven’t been doing a good job of, then it could be a long night.”

Live video and stats of Tuesday night’s game will be provided by

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