MORGANTOWN, W.Va - The No. 25/22 West Virginia University women’s basketball team had five players in double figures, including a double-double from senior Ayana Dunning to defeat Youngstown State 90-57 on Sunday at the WVU Coliseum.
“We came out and played hard,” coach Mike Carey said. “In the first half, we turned the ball over more than we have been, but we were trying to pound it in and we have to do a better job of that. Taylor Palmer and Christal Caldwell came out and did some great things early. They did a good job offensively and Yaya (Dunning) had a double-double, which she should.”
The win extends the Mountaineers’ (7-2) win streak to four games. The Penguins (7-3), who entered the game averaging 9.2 3-pointers a game as the second-highest average in the nation, were held to only 20 percent (5-25) from 3-point range.
Collectively WVU shot 64.4 percent (38-59) from the field, while limiting YSU to 28.1 percent (16-57).
“A lot of our shots weren’t layups either. Sometimes when we shoot 64 percent, they are all layups, but they weren’t,” coach Carey said. “Christal and Taylor were under control with their shots and they made their shots. I thought Yaya made a couple of jump shots, but shot well. Everybody else did well. Darius (Faulk) came in, got some steals and made some shots.”
Palmer shot 50 percent from 3-point range, converting 3-of-6 attempts, to go with eight rebounds and five assists for 15 points in the win. Dunning’s double-double, the seventh of her career, consisted of 13 points and a season-high 13 rebounds. Dunning also dished out four assists, grabbed three steals and put up two blocks in 28 minutes of play.
Caldwell and sophomore Averee Fields each added 12 points with six field goals apiece. True freshman Darius Faulk provided a spark off the bench as she added a career-best 10 points, her first double-digit outing as a Mountaineer, on 5-of-5 shooting from the field. Junior Jess Harlee, who also came in off the bench, chipped in another eight points.
Behind Dunning’s game-leading 13 rebounds, Palmer pulled down eight boards and sophomore Crystal Leary added six rebounds in 17 minutes.
“If we can become consistent, get more consistent play from some of our guards and establish a post game with Averee and Crystal Leary along with Yaya, then we have a chance to be pretty darn good,” Carey said.
The Mountaineers out-rebounded the Penguins 44-25 and dominated the paint 42-20. WVU turned the ball over 20 times, while YSU limited its own turnovers to 16. Youngstown State took advantage from the free throw line, converting 20-of-24 (83.3%) attempts, while WVU made 8-of-19 (42.1%) from the charity stripe.
Heidi Schlegel led the Penguins with 13 points, while season scoring leader Brandi Brown, who went into the game averaging 20.0 points per game, was held to 12 points. Melissa Thompson led Youngstown State in rebounding with six boards.
The Mountaineers return to the court on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. as they face the Duquesne Dukes at the WVU Coliseum.