WVU and USC Upstate Square Off Saturday

  • By Russell Luna
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  • December 09, 2016 10:19 AM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The No. 13/14-ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball resumes nonconference action on Saturday, Dec. 10, in a 6:30 p.m. tipoff against USC Upstate at the WVU Coliseum.
All kids 13 and under who complete the Musket coloring sheet found online here will receive free admission to Saturday’s contest. Tickets are priced at just $5 and can be purchased at WVUGAME.com or by calling the Mountaineer Ticket Office at 1-800-WVU GAME. Will Call and all game day ticket sales will take place at the Gold Gate ticket windows only. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to avoid lines at the gate on gameday.
Dan Zangrilli and Meg Bulger will call the action on the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG. Fans can listen to various affiliates across the state (click here for a full list), WVUsports.com, WVU Gameday app and TuneIn. 
Prior to the game, the Mountaineers will raise their 2016 NCAA Tournament banner before the national anthem. 
West Virginia (9-0) is off to its best start since opening the 2010-11 season at 16-0. With a win on Saturday, the Mountaineers can match a 10-0 start to the 2002-03 season, which is second-best in program history. WVU’s four best season-opening starts have come under coach Mike Carey.
The Mountaineers have won 30 consecutive games against nonconference competition at the WVU Coliseum and 11 straight at home. The 11-game win streak is tied for seventh all-time at the WVU Coliseum.
West Virginia rolled to a 66-61 win over Ole Miss in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Sunday. The Mountaineers utilized a season-high 34 points from the bench. Kristina King matched a season-high 16 points and grabbed a season-best nine rebounds in the win. Alexis Brewer also contributed 12 points followed by 10 from Tynice Martin.
Martin continues to lead the Big 12 with 19.0 points per game, while Lanay Montgomery paces the conference with 3.2 blocks per contest. Montgomery is second in the Big 12 with 10.0 rebounds per contest and Teana Muldrow is fourth with 9.2 rebounds per game. Chania Ray is second in the conference with 6.0 assists per game.
West Virginia ranks second nationally with a 29.2 field goal percentage defense, seventh with a +27.4 scoring margin and ninth with a 51.3 points per game scoring defense. Defensively, the Mountaineers have held their last 10 opponents to shooting less than 40 percent from the field.
Offensively, WVU’s field goal percentage of 46.3 ranks 26th and its scoring offensive of 78.8 points per game is 30th in the NCAA.
WVU and USC Upstate meet for a second time on Saturday. WVU won the previous meeting, 75-45, in Morgantown on Nov. 17, 2012. Freshman Bria Holmes led the team with 14 points in the win.
USC Upstate (4-5) has lost two of its last three games, but is coming off a 92-50 win over Bob Jones on Dec. 3. The Spartans are averaging 62.8 points and allowing 55.2 points per game. USC Upstate is shooting 37.1 percent (209-of-564) from the field and holding opponents to 37.1 percent (189-of-510) shooting. Upstate is 16th nationally with 105 steals this season and ranks 15th in the NCAA with a +7.67 turnover margin. The Spartans are 11th in the NCAA with 13.2 fouls per game.
“Sometimes they will play a full court diamond press. Sometimes, they are 2-2-1 back to a 2-3,” said Carey. “They’ll play some man. They’ll change up on us and give us some different looks. We’ll have to be able to adjust and our players will have to adjust on the floor when they give us different looks.”
Raven Jefferson is USC Upstate’s lone double-figure scorer, averaging 13.8 points per game. Jefferson dropped a career-high 30 points in the win over Bob Jones. She leads the team with 22 steals and 17 made three-pointers. A’Lexxus Davis paces the Spartans with 5.4 rebounds per game in eight contests.
No. 13/14 West Virginia visits Charleston, West Virginia, next Saturday, Dec. 17, to play Longwood in a 4 p.m. tilt at the Charleston Civic Center. Fans can purchase tickets online through Ticketmaster or by visiting the Charleston Civic Center Box Office.