Mountaineers Face Texas on Tuesday

  • By Katie Kane
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  • March 04, 2013 11:53 AM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia women’s basketball team will enter its inaugural Big 12 Conference regular-season finale at 8:30 p.m., on Tuesday at Texas.

The Mountaineers are currently 17-11 overall and hold a 9-8 mark in league play, while the Longhorns are 11-17 overall and 4-13 in the Big 12.

The Longhorns are coming off a 64-58 road loss at Oklahoma State on Saturday. UT holds an 8-6 record when playing at home in the Frank Erwin Center.

Three Texas players currently average double-figure scoring numbers, led by junior Chassidy Fussell with 14.5 points per game in all games and 12.9 points per Big 12 game. Fussell is also the Longhorns’ leading 3-point shooter as she has collected 43 threes this season, 25 from conference only games. Fussell shoots 26.9 percent from beyond the arc in league play and 37.2 percent from the field.

Sophomore Nneka Enemkpali averages 11.4 points per league outing and 12.9 overall with 44.7 percent shooting from the field. The Longhorns have out-rebounded league opponents by a margin of 5.9 rebounds per game, the third-highest in the league. A large part of the rebounding efforts can be credited to freshman Imani McGee-Stafford, who averages 9.5 boards per league game, the fourth-highest average in the conference. Behind McGee-Stafford, Enemkpali averages 7.8 boards per league outing and Fussell pulls down 5.6 rebounds per Big 12 game.

McGee-Stafford rounds out the Longhorns’ top three scorers with 11.2 points per league outing and is shooting 46.2 percent (78-169) from the field in league play. McGee-Stafford is also UT’s blocked shots leader with 68 this season and 38 in league play.

Texas’ three leading scorers each shoot at least 71 percent from the free throw line. Brady Sanders, who has appeared in all league games this season, and averaging 16.1 minutes per game, is the Longhorns’ leading free throw shooter as she has converted 88.9 percent (32-36) in league play.

As a team, the Longhorns average 20.4 turnovers per league outing, while West Virginia is known for stealing the ball as it holds a league leading average of 9.8 steals per game.

The Mountaineers hold a 2-0 all-time series advantage over the Longhorns and will be facing Texas for the first time in program history in Austin. In the last outing, the Mountaineers defeated Texas 53-49 in Morgantown on Jan. 9.

Junior Christal Caldwell led the Mountaineers in scoring in each game last week and continues to lead WVU for the season with 13.0 points per game. Caldwell is also a key factor in forcing turnovers as she leads WVU with 47 steals, including 34 in league play. Senior Ayana Dunning is currently the second-leading scorer for WVU with 10.3 points per game and is the leading rebounder with 6.3 rebounds per game. Defensively, Dunning leads the team in blocked shots with 25 this season.

Junior Jess Harlee and freshman Bria Holmes have each provided a spark off the bench this season. Harlee averages 5.8 points per league game as the leading scorer out of the reserves, while Holmes chips in 5.6 points per Big 12 outing. Harlee has collected the second-most steals for the team with 33 in Big 12 play and 43 overall.

Tuesday’s game will be broadcast live on WAJR with Travis Jones on the call. Live stats and a recap of the game can be found at WVUsports.com. The Longhorn Network will air the game live.

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