MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia women’s basketball team will open a four-game home stretch at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, Dec. 8 as it faces St. Bonaventure in the WVU Coliseum.
Fans who bring a new, unwrapped toy to contribute to the Students Helping Other People (SHOP) and Toy Mountain will receive a free admission coupon to an upcoming women’s game.
The Bonnies (5-5) return two starters and seven total letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 31-4, an undefeated 14-0 in Atlantic 10 play and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. St. Bonaventure comes to Morgantown off a 64-55 win at Buffalo this past Wednesday. SBU trailed Buffalo by one point at halftime, but junior guard Ashley Zahn recorded 19 second-half points to help the team to the win. Junior forward Doris Ortega added in another 15 points and co-led with two others in rebounding with six boards.
Ortega is St. Bonaventure’s leading scorer this season as she averages 11.2 points per game on 35.7 percent (35-98) shooting. Ortega is also the leading rebounder with 7.1 rebounds per game and is a 70.5 percent (31-44) free throw shooter. Cece Dixon, who was out last game, is the team’s second-leading scorer with 10.2 points per game and 16 3-pointers this season.
Zahn is the third-leading scorer with 9.8 points per game and is the leading 3-point shooter as she has collected 21-of-60 (35%) from beyond the arc. Alaina Walker is the second-leading rebounder with 6.1 boards per game and leads the team in steals with 15. Like the Mountaineers, St. Bonaventure is a defensive-minded team and has held opponents to 55.4 points per game this season.
The Mountaineers (5-2), who are ranked No. 23 in the USA Today Sports/ESPN Coaches’ Poll, are 5-0 this season when holding the opposition to 60 points or less. A key factor in holding opponents under 60 points comes from beyond the arc as the Mountaineers have held opponents to only 22 percent shooting from 3-point range, the fourth-lowest average in the Big 12 and ninth lowest average nationally.
The FIU Thanksgiving Classic propelled Taylor Palmer
into the Mountaineers’ season scoring leader role as she averages 10.4 points per game. Behind Palmer, senior Ayana Dunning
averages 10.1 points per game and Christal Caldwell
chips in 9.1 points per game. Dunning serves as the team’s leading rebounder with 6.9 boards per game, while sophomore Crystal Leary
matches Dunning in the rebounding role, also with 6.9 rebounds per game. Leary is coming off the first double-double of her career at Marshall.
WVU leads the all-time series with St. Bonaventure 17-5. The Bonnies handed the Mountaineers their first loss of the season last year, a 56-48 defeat at the WVU Coliseum on Nov. 18, 2011. Last season’s loss to the Bonnies at the Coliseum was the first loss to them in program history on the Mountaineers’ home court as WVU is now 9-1 at home against St. Bonaventure.
For those unable to attend, a recap of the game, live video and live stats also are available online at www.WVUsports.com. Fans can tune into WAJR to hear the game live with Travis Jones on the call.