MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University women’s basketball team will open the 2013-14 season at 5:30 p.m., this Friday, Nov. 8 as they take on Ohio State at the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers are coming off a 101-26 exhibition victory over Concord last Friday and enter this season with four returning starters and nine returning letterwinners from a year ago. Last season, WVU recorded a 17-14 overall mark and 9-9 record in the Big 12 Conference, making its fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.
This season senior and co-captain Asya Bussie
, who led the team in scoring as a junior and was named preseason All-Big 12, returns to the court after rehabbing a knee injury last season. Fellow co-captain senior Jess Harlee
, a Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection, also returns to the court after rehabbing a knee injury from the final regular-season game of 2012-13.
Senior guard Christal Caldwell
was named preseason All-Big 12 honorable mention and is the team’s returning scoring and steals leader with 13.1 points per game and 51 steals last season. Senior guard Taylor Palmer
rounds out the top three scorers as she brings back 9.9 points per game and 63 threes from a year ago. Brooke Hampton
is the fifth senior to return this season, and will see time at the point guard position.
The Mountaineers are 31-9 all-time in home openers in the WVU Coliseum, having won 13 consecutive, with 12 under coach Mike Carey. WVU trails 10-0 in the all-time series with Ohio State, having never played at the Coliseum under coach Carey. The last time the teams met was Nov. 19, 2009, when Ohio State defeated WVU 92-69 in a preseason WNIT game in Columbus.
Ohio State returns three starters and eight other letterwinners from last season’s squad that went 18-13 overall and 7-9 in Big Ten play. OSU is under the direction of first year coach Kevin McGuff, who takes over the helm after a two-year stint at the University of Washington and nine seasons at Xavier.
The Buckeyes will feel the loss of last season’s leading scorer Tayler Hill (21.1 ppg; 4.3 rpg), who went on to play for the Washington Mystics in the WNBA. The Buckeyes’ leading returning scorer and rebounder is senior center Ashley Adams with 9.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Adams averaged 30.3 minutes per game in all 30 games last season, leading OSU with a .540 field goal percentage (136-252).
Behind Adams, sophomore guard Ameryst Alston averages 6.5 points and 2.7 assists per game, while shooting nearly .500 (.490) from the field (73-149). The third returning starter that rounds out the scoring is junior guard Raven Ferguson with 6.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Ohio State defeated Bellarmine 101-48 in an exhibition game on Sunday, Nov. 3.
Friday’s game is a doubleheader with the men’s basketball team, and fans can attend the doubleheader for $10 by purchasing a ticket to the men’s game vs. Mount St. Mary’s. One ticket gains admission to both games of the doubleheader.
The game will be broadcast live, locally, on television by West Virginia Media, and fans can listen online at WVUsports.com, as the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG will carry the game with Jeff Culhane and Ayana Dunning on the call. In Morgantown the game will air live on 100.9 WSZT-FM, in Cumberland, Md., on WCBC-AM 1270, in Parkersburg on WADC-AM 1050 and in Charleston on WSCW-AM 1410 and WJYP-AM 1300.