|Taylor Palmer recorded a game-leading 17 points, with four threes in the second half.
|Brian Persinger photo
HONOLULU, Hawaii – The West Virginia University women’s basketball team defeated Ole Miss 86-56 in the opening game of the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic Friday night.
WVU came out shooting, with four Mountaineers (1-1) recording scoring numbers in double figures. The Mountaineers shot 53.1 percent (17-32) in the opening half, closing out the game at 47.6 percent (30-63) from the field, including eight threes.
“I thought we came out and played hard,” coach Mike Carey said. “I was happy to see 18 assists—that was big for us—it meant we moved the ball pretty well. We had a lot of points off the bench, with 29 points, and I think that’s big for us; I think we can do that every time.”
WVU opened the game on a 16-6 run in the first 5:29, with points from Christal Caldwell
, Averee Fields
, Asya Bussie
and Bria Holmes
. The Mountaineers went into the locker room at halftime with a 45-21 lead, and the Rebels (1-2) were unable to overcome the early deficit. The Rebels were held to only five first-half field goals, shooting16.1 percent (5-31), and going 0-for-13 from 3-point range in the opening half.
Senior guard Taylor Palmer
recorded a game-leading 17 points, with four threes, all in the second half. Behind Palmer, sophomore guard Bria Holmes
and Caldwell each recorded 16 points, a career-best for Holmes. Ten of Caldwell’s points came in the opening half. Bussie was the fourth Mountaineer in double figures with 12 points, while also leading the team in rebounding with eight boards.
“The biggest thing is we hit a couple shots,” Carey explained. “We hit eight threes, and any time you can hit eight threes that stretches the zone out a little bit.”
Junior guard Linda Stepney
added seven points, including a 4-of-4 showing from the free throw line and a 3-pointer. Fields chipped in six points and pulled down six rebounds, while dishing out four assists. Senior guard Brooke Hampton
recorded six assists, and redshirt-freshman Lanay Montgomery
pulled down seven rebounds and recorded three blocked shots in 12 minutes.
WVU dominated the paint with 40 points, and edged out Ole Miss in the rebounding category 52-43. The Mountaineers converted 69.2 percent (18-26) from the free throw line, while Ole Miss recorded 55.6 percent (15-27) from the charity stripe. The Rebels closed out the game shooting 11.1 percent (3-27) from 3-point range, while WVU shot 38.1 percent (8-21) from downtown.
Ole Miss was led in scoring by Valencia McFarland with 12 points, while Amber Singletary chipped in 10, including a pair of threes. Tia Faleru led on the boards with 10 rebounds for the Rebels.
The Mountaineers return to the Stan Sheriff Center for a 5 p.m. matchup tomorrow with Washington State.
“Washington State is a very good basketball team,” Carey said. “They play a lot of zone, have a lot of shooters and they have a couple guards scoring a lot of points. We’re going to have to be ready to play.”
Fans can listen to the game live with Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG online at WVUsports.com and on WRLF-FM 94.3 in Fairmont, with Jeff Culhane on the call.