Mountaineers to Face No. 1 Baylor on Saturday


By Katie Kane for WVUsports.com
January 18, 2013 10:31 AM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University women’s basketball team travels to Waco, Texas, for an 8 p.m. matchup with No. 1 Baylor on Saturday at the Ferrell Center.

Ranked No. 1 in the nation in both major polls, Baylor enters Saturday’s game on a 13-game win streak, undefeated in Big 12 Conference play and defeating opponents by an average of 30.1 points per game.

The Lady Bears (15-1, 5-0), who are the defending National and Big 12 Champions, return all five starters from last year’s team that went undefeated, 40-0 overall and 18-0 in conference play. Baylor leads all league games in both scoring offense (79.2 ppg) and scoring defense (50.4 ppg).

The Lady Bears have three players averaging scoring numbers in double figures and all rank in the top 25 for scoring in league play. Senior Brittney Griner leads the Big 12, averaging 21.6 points per game on 59.5 percent shooting (144-242). Odyssey Sims and Brooklyn Pope round out the top three scorers with 12.3 and 11.5 points per game, respectively.

Griner leads Baylor in rebounding with 7.6 rebounds per game, the sixth-highest average in the Big 12. Destiny Williams and Pope follow Griner on the boards with 6.9 and 6.3 rebounds, respectively. Griner also leads the team in blocked shots with 43, while Sims and Jordan Madden lead in stealing the ball with 35 and 30 steals this season, respectively.

Kimetria Hayden leads the team in assists with 70 and is followed by Sims with 61, Madden with 56 and Niya Johnson with 48.

In Baylor’s last outing with Kansas State, the Lady Bears came out on top 90-69 after a second-half surge. The Lady Bears’ bench produced 22 points, led by freshman guard Alexis Prince with nine points on 4-of-8 shooting, while Griner led all players with 29 points, including five from the free throw line.

In program history, WVU has played in 14 games with its opponent ranked No. 1 in the nation, however, has yet to come out on top. WVU is 3-2 in the Big 12 Conference, after winning its last three games. The Mountaineers (11-5, 3-2) defeated TCU by eight points in their last outing and recorded a 14-point win over Kansas State, its largest scoring margin in conference play this season, in the game prior.

In Big 12 play this season, three Mountaineers continue to trade off the leadership role when it comes to scoring in senior Ayana Dunning and juniors Taylor Palmer and Christal Caldwell. The three leading scorers combine for 65.8 percent of WVU’s scoring in conference play. Averaging 16.6 points per game in conference only games, Palmer’s scoring average ties for the third-highest average in league games.

WVU and Baylor are tied at 1-1 in the all-time series. The last time the teams met was on March 22, 2011, when Baylor defeated WVU 82-68 in the Ferrell Center in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The first ever meeting between teams took place at the Mississippi Dial Classic on Dec. 7, 1984, when WVU defeated Baylor 73-67.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast live by FOX Sports Southwest with John Morris and Jim Haller on the call. In the Morgantown area, it will be broadcast on FCS Atlantic, channel 171, from 8:30-10 p.m. provided by Comcast and it will air live at 8 p.m. on channel 680 for those with DirecTV.

Fans can listen to the game live on WAJR. Live stats and a recap of the game can be found at WVUsports.com.



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