The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 8, 2013

WVU women win seventh straight

MORGANTOWN — Unlike the West Virginia University women’s basketball team she plays for, Asya Bussie draws a crowd every time she steps onto the Coliseum court.

The crowd, unfortunately, isn’t fellow WVU students or paying customers. Only 1,553 of them came out Saturday to watch the Mountaineers continue to roll, winning their seventh straight game, 94-47, over Fairleigh Dickinson to go to 7-1.

No, the crowd Bussie, the Mountaineer center and a preseason All-Big 12 selection as she comes back from missing last year due to knee surgery, draws wears the colors of the other team.

What teams have taken to doing is sagging down on her to limit her touches of the ball. By so doing, however, are they giving a whole lot of easy shots, especially from 3-point range, to Bussie’s teammates, and they are taking advantage of it.

Bussie had only three baskets but managed to string together a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, but starting guards Christal Caldwell and Taylor Palmer, along with backup Brooke Hampton, went wild from the outside.

Palmer, a one-time starter who had been coming off the bench this year, got the starting call because Bria Holmes was out with a concussion suffered in the last game and is now day-to-day.

Palmer led all scorers with 25 points, making four of nine from 3, while Caldwell, the team’s leading scorer for the season with a 15.3 average coming into the game, totaled 19 while hitting 3 of 7 from 3.

Hampton, getting 26 minutes off the bench, scored a season-high 13 points with some true sharpshooting, hitting five of six from the floor, three of four of them from 3-point range.

“I was glad to see we had 21 assists,” said coach Mike Carey. “With teams sagging on Asya, it leaves everyone open, so it would be easy to have none, but we were passing the ball.”

WVU was searching for the most open 3-point shot and it paid as the Mountaineers hit 11 of 23 for the game, 47.8 percent, compared to a season average of 29.7 percent.

“We have to make (the other teams) pay for sagging on Asya,” Carey said. “Poor Asya. Everyone is double- and triple-teaming her. They apparently have scouting reports that say don’t let her beat us; make the guards beat us.”

And that’s just what Caldwell, Taylor and Hampton did and have been doing as WVU scored more than 80 points for the fifth time in eight games.

“Asya is so good inside, it figures that they are sagging on her,” Caldwell said. “As guards, we’re not shooting as well as we can. They are taking a chance, but I suspect as we go deeper into the season they won’t drop us as much.”

Palmer says she’s not surprised at the strategy, either.

“She is one of the best inside players in the country,” she said. “Teams are going to do everything they can possibly do to stop her. If we get her the ball, nine out of 10 times something positive happens.

“Them doing that motivates us as guards, though,” Palmer continued. “The more we play well, the less teams will be able to fixate on us.”

“They have been crashing down Asya, and it has allowed us guards to make big plays,” Hampton said. “Them doing that shows a lack of respect and motivates us.”

Brianna Thomas scored 23 of Fairleigh Dickinson’s 47 points and made nine field goals, while the rest of the team could score only seven.

WVU is off for finals week now before returning to the court next Saturday in Charleston to face instate rival Marshall.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads