No. 2-Seeded WVU Enters NCAA First Round

  • By Katie Kane
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  • March 22, 2014 03:39 PM
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BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 7 West Virginia women’s basketball team enters the 2014 NCAA tournament as a No. 2 seed, facing 15th-seeded Albany (NY) on Sunday, March 23 at 3 p.m. ET at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.
The Mountaineers (29-4) are making their 10th overall NCAA appearance in program history. The 2014 tournament is the fifth consecutive appearance for WVU and eighth with coach Carey at the helm. 
WVU dropped the Big 12 Conference Championship game to Baylor, 74-71, but won 12 consecutive games prior to that game. Sophomore guard Bria Holmes’ 15.1 points per game paces four Mountaineers averaging scoring numbers in double figures. Holmes was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 First Team. Senior center and All-Big 12 First Team member Asya Bussie is WVU’s leading rebound with 7.6 boards per game, while averaging 13.0 points per game.
Since Bussie sat out last season with injury, she enters this weekend with the most NCAA tournament experience, having played in six NCAA games, averaging 10.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in NCAA tournament only games in her career.
UAlbany is coming off its third consecutive America East title with a 28-4 overall record and a 15-2 mark in league play. The 2014 NCAA tournament appearance is the Great Danes’ third consecutive appearance and they are in search of their first ever Division I NCAA tournament victory.
UAlbany is led by America East Player of the Year Shereesha Richards, who led the league in scoring (20.3 ppg), rebounding (9.0 rpg) and field goal percentage (62.7%). Richards, a 6-1 sophomore forward, also led the conference with 13 double-doubles this season and is coming off a 26-point outing over Stony Brook in the conference championship game.
Behind Richards, junior center and first team all-conference member Megan Craig averages 12.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Craig also leads UA in blocked shots with 49. Junior Sarah Royals rounds out the top three scorers with 11.7 points per game and leads UAlbany with 157 assists in 32 games.
Tammy Phillip is the second-leading rebounder with 8.4 boards per game, and has grabbed the second-most steals (62), while averaging 7.3 points per game. Phillip shoots 70.2 percent from the free throw line, converting 151-215.
In her fourth season, coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson was named America East Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season.
WVU and UAlbany are similar in defensive play. WVU limits opponents to only 58.4 points per game, while the Great Danes limit opposing teams to 54.6 points per game. Both teams also limit shooting from the field (WVU: .357/UA: .361) and from beyond the arc (WVU: .298/UA: .291).
WVU and UAlbany each average similar numbers in scoring (WVU: 73.9/UA: 71.8) and rebounding (WVU: 41.2/UA: 40.0).  
The Mountaineers and the Great Danes shared one common opponent this season in Delaware State. WVU defeated DSU 109-47, while UA took an 87-71 win at home.
Sunday’s game is the first meeting between WVU and Albany. The game will air live on ESPN, and will also be available live on ESPN3.  
The winner of Sunday’s West Virginia-Albany matchup will advance to face the winner of the 12:30 p.m. game on Sunday between No. 7-seeded LSU and No. 10-seeded Georgia Tech. The second round will take place at 9:30 p.m. ET, on Tuesday, March 25.