WVU to Close Out First Half of Big 12 Play

  • By Katie Kane
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  • January 28, 2013 11:38 AM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University women’s basketball team will close out the first half of Big 12 Conference play as it will face the No. 12/11 Oklahoma State Cowgirls in Stillwater, Okla., on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Oklahoma State is 15-3 overall and 4-3 in the Big 12, including a 9-1 record at home. The Cowgirls only loss at home came at the hands of Texas Tech, 64-59, in the conference opener. OSU has defeated Kansas, twice, Texas and Iowa State, while falling to Texas Tech, Baylor and Kansas State in overtime in Big 12 games this season.

As a team, Oklahoma State enters Tuesday’s game ranked in the top 10 in six statistical categories nationally, including scoring offense, scoring margin, field-goal percentage, rebound margin, assists per game and assist-turnover ratio.

Oklahoma State has four players averaging double-figure scoring numbers in Big 12 play this season, led by Toni Young’s 15 points per game. Young is also the Cowgirls’ leading rebounder with 9.4 boards per game and 12 blocks this season in Big 12 play. In all games, Young averages 17.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

Liz Donohoe (15.8 ppg), Tiffany Bias (12.2 ppg) and Bittney Martin (9.6) round out the top four scorers. Donohoe leads the nation from the free-throw line, converting 96.9 percent (62-64) and is perfect from the line (24-24) in Big 12 games. Donohoe also is very strong from 3-point range, collecting 40 threes this season, on 37.4 percent shooting (40-107).

Bias gets the ball where it needs to be, recording 127 assists this season, with 46 assists in Big 12 play. Kendra Suttles is a spark off the bench, averaging 7.2 points in all games and 6.3 points in conference only games. Suttles shoots 50 percent (18-36) from the field in conference only games and 54.8 percent overall.

The Cowgirls returned four starters from last season’s squad that went 22-12 and 8-10 in the Big 12, to go on and become WNIT Champions.
The Mountaineers are 11-8 overall, 3-5 in Big 12 play and are looking to put a stop to a three-game losing skid. WVU had a halftime lead in each of the last two games, yet fell by four in each outing. WVU has lost four Big 12 games this season by less than five points, and held a halftime lead in three of its five Big 12 losses this season.

Junior guards Christal Caldwell and Taylor Palmer lead WVU in scoring with 12.6 and 11.5 points per game, respectively. In Big 12 only games, Caldwell and Palmer each average 13.9 points per game as WVU’s leading scorers. Palmer is shooting a league-leading 46.2 percent (24-52) from 3-point range in conference games. Senior Ayana Dunning led WVU in the last game with 17 points and rounds out the top three scorers with 10.3 points per game.

Dunning continues to lead the Mountaineers in rebounding with 6.3 rebounds per game, while sophomore Crystal Leary is just behind her with 5.5 boards per game. In league only games, sophomore Averee Fields guides the team on the glass as she has 5.6 rebounds a game, which is the 16th-highest average in all league play. Assisting in defensive play, Jess Harlee averages 1.9 steals per league outing, tied for the seventh-highest average in the league.

WVU and Oklahoma State are tied at 1-1 in the all-time series. In the last outing, Oklahoma State defeated WVU 95-62 on Dec. 29, 2000, in Stillwater.

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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