CHARLESTON, W.Va.– True freshman and player of the game Bria Holmes used a game-leading 15 points to lift the West Virginia women’s basketball team to a 64-48 victory over Marshall Tuesday in the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic game held at the Charleston Civic Center.
“Give Marshall credit, they played hard,” coach Mike Carey said. “Bria Holmes hit some shots and did some good things. Marshall played harder.”
Trailing 12-2 in the opening six minutes, the Thundering Herd (4-4) never let up, as they cut the deficit to only one point, twice, by the 8:36 mark in the first half. Holmes recorded 13 points from that point into halftime to give the Mountaineers (5-2) a 35-23 advantage at the break. Marshall was never able to cut the lead to single digits as WVU sealed its eighth consecutive win over the Herd.
Holmes’ point total was her second game in double figures this season and a career best. The New Haven, Conn., native, recorded a pair of threes, to go along with five rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Behind Holmes, senior Ayana Dunning added 13 points and six rebounds.
As the Mountaineers’ leading rebounder, sophomore Crystal Leary recorded the first double-double of her career with a career-best 12 points and 11 rebounds. Leary also had a career-best five steals and two assists in the win.
“Crystal plays hard and she plays hard every game,” Carey said. “I told her after the game I wish I could get everybody to play as hard as her.”
With starting point guard Linda Stepney sidelined in the opening minutes, junior Brooke Hampton recorded six points, all from beyond the arc, and a season-high seven assists.
Both teams were about even from the field, with Marshall shooting 34.5 percent (19-55) and WVU tacking on five more field goals at 35.3 percent (24-68). Each team hit five 3-pointers, while the Mountaineers used 11-of-16 (68.8%) from the free throw line, and Marshall converted only 5-of-17 (29.4%) from the charity stripe.
The Mountaineers forced 26 Herd turnovers, partially attributed to 14 team steals. WVU had the advantage in rebounding 48-41.
Marshall was led in scoring by Leandra King, who was named Marshall’s player of the game, with 10 points and followed by Norrisha Victrum with nine points. Chukwuka Ezeigbo led Marshall in rebounding with eight boards.
WVU returns home to Morgantown for a 7:30 p.m. matchup with St. Bonaventure on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the WVU Coliseum.