Women’s Basketball Gears Up for Sooners Saturday

By Katie Kane for WVUsports.com
January 17, 2014 11:38 AM
Sophomore guard Bria Holmes leads WVU's scoring heading into Saturday's Gold Rush with Oklahoma.
Dale Sparks/All-Pro Photography photo
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.  – The West Virginia women’s basketball team gears up for a 2 p.m. tip with Oklahoma on Saturday at the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers (15-1, 4-1) play host to the Sooners (11-6, 2-2) in a Gold Rush presented by EZToUse.com. All fans attending are encouraged to wear gold.
WVU is coming off a 73-59 win over No. 11 Iowa State on Wednesday. Sophomore guard Bria Holmes leads the Mountaineers in scoring with 13.5 points per game, while senior center Asya Bussie adds 13.4 points, and senior guards Christal Caldwell and Taylor Palmer round out the top four scorers with 11.7 and 11.5 points per game, respectively.
Bussie is WVU’s leading rebounder with 7.5 boards per game, followed by junior forwards Crystal Leary and Averee Fields with 5.1 and 4.6 rebounds per game, respectively. Junior guard Linda Stepney led WVU in both scoring and rebounding for the first time in her career last game.
As a team, WVU averages 77.9 points per game, while limiting opponents to 59.4 points per game. WVU’s only loss in league play thus far is to Baylor, while having defeated a pair of ranked opponents in Oklahoma State and Iowa State. Other league teams WVU has taken wins from are Kansas and Texas, in overtime.
Oklahoma was tabbed the favorite in the Big 12 Preseason Poll. The Sooners returned four starters and seven overall letterwinners from last season’s squad that went 24-11 and 11-7 in Big 12 play, making it to the NCAA Sweet 16. This season, the Sooners added six newcomers to their roster.
OU is currently 11-6 overall, 2-2 in Big 12 play and receiving votes in both major polls. The Sooners are coming off a bye week, with their last outing a 61-50 defeat of Kansas State on Jan. 11.
Oklahoma has lost three games in overtime this season, including an 82-75 decision at home to Iowa State and a 79-74 loss at Texas in overtime. The only other Big 12 team OU has defeated is Texas Tech.
As a team, Oklahoma averages 80.9 points per game, the second-highest average of all league teams. The Sooners shoot 73.5 percent (336-457) from the free throw line as the third-best free throw shooting team in the Big 12. OU leads the league in shooting from the field, making 45.7 percent (467-1022) in all games.
Senior guard Aaryn Ellenberg is the third-leading scoring in the Big 12, averaging 19.1 points per game, and averages 21.8 points in Big 12 only games. Ellenberg single-handedly averages three 3-pointers a game, with 48 made this season. She also leads the team in steals with 29.
Junior guard Sharane Campbell averages 12.8 points per game and co-leads the Sooners in rebounding with 5.3 boards per game. Senior center Nicole Griffin rounds out the top three scorers with 11.4 points per game, while co-leading in rebounding with 5.3 rebounds per game. Griffin holds the second-highest field goal percentage (62.2%) of any league player.
Senior guard Morgan Hook is the final Sooner averaging double-figure scoring numbers with 10.7 points per game, including 17 threes.
OU never trailed in its last outing with Kansas State, led in scoring by Ellenberg with 23 points, including four threes and seven points from the free throw line. Campbell added a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Griffin chipped in 14 points, 10 from the free throw line.
The all-time series between WVU and OU is tied at 2-2. Last season, WVU and OU split the series at 1-1, each taking a win on their respective home courts in the regular season, however, OU handed WVU an early exit in the Big 12 tournament with a one-point defeat, 65-64. The last time the teams met in the WVU Coliseum, WVU defeated OU 82-63 on Feb. 3, 2013.
Tickets are still available for Saturday’s game. Tickets at the gate are $5 for adults, $3 for youth and seniors, while groups of 10 or more can pay just $2 each. WVU students are admitted free with a valid ID.
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 and Meg Bulger on the call.

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