By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
The basketball, as so often had happened on this particular Wednesday, started toward the Delaware State basket, only to be interrupted in its journey by the hand at the end of the long arm of Lanay Montgomery for one of seven West Virginia University blocks on the night.
This one, though, was special, as the ball kicked into hands of teammate Bria Holmes, who wasted no time reaching full speed toward the Hornets’ basket, gliding past the last defender and hitting the latest layup of what had been a game that was a little less than a 40-minute layup line.
That the scoreboard lights twinkled 101 points was impressive, but perhaps more impressive was the fact that 5 minutes and 59 seconds remained in the game.
Seeing that the game ended with WVU possessing only 109 points to 47 for an overmatched and overwhelmed Delaware State team tells you that by then WVU coach Mike Carey had called off the dogs, not taking a run at the school record of 131 points scored while winning a ninth consecutive game and lifting the record to 9-1.
In truth, WVU could have named the score as Delaware State was playing without two of its starters and had a third injured during the game.
“We could have had any shot we wanted,” Carey admitted.
And, had they just wanted to spend the evening feeding the ball to Asya Bussie inside, she might have scored 100 herself.
OK, that is an exaggeration, but she had 18 in the first half, 10 in the first five minutes of the game.
Freed from double- and triple-teams and taller than her defenders, it was easy pickings as 6-for-6 shooting in the first half showed, finishing the night with 7-of-8 from the floor and 8-for-8 from the free-throw line for just 22 points.
But it was 22 points in 19 minutes, an impressive enough figure, but not the strangest of the game for somehow Lubirdia Gordon, one of her replacements, managed to foul out with five fouls in just six minutes of play.
If that is not a record, it should be.
The scoring came so easily for WVU that the players weren’t even aware of it when they broke 100.
“I didn’t know we had 100 until we were at 103 and time was out,” said Holmes, who scored the 100th point.
“I was sitting on the bench and didn’t know it was 100 points until Christal (Caldwell) sitting next to me said, ‘Wow, we have 100 points,’” said Taylor Palmer, who accounted for 13 of them, hitting four of six 3s.
As it was Bussie and Holmes each scored 22 and five players reached double figures and three – Linda Stepney, Jess Harlee and Brooke Hampton had at least six assists, Hampton leading with 7.
It was obvious from the opening tip, which, like everything else throughout the evening, was controlled by West Virginia that this would be a night to remember.
West Virginia could do whatever it wanted, and it appeared it wanted to do everything in a first half that saw the Mountaineers streak to a 61-26 advantage.
Go inside? No sweat.
Bussie led the way with her 18 first-half points, all of it inside. As a team WVU had as many points in the paint as Delaware State had … from anywhere – 26 in the first half and finished with 56 points in the paint.
Overall, the Mountaineers shot a gaudy 56.5 percent in the game, most of them easy shots by either working the ball inside or turning 26 Delaware State turnovers into layups.
Only Christal Caldwell had problems putting the ball in the basket with 1-for-7 shooting in the half and finishing 1 for 8, the rest of the team hitting 21 of 31 shots.
“It looked to me like she was pressing,” Carey said of Caldwell, the team’s leading scorer on the season. “When you are not hitting in a game like this, that is going to happen.
WVU’s next game is a key non-conference game at Duquesne, a team that beat the Mountaineers each of the last two years and that they are approaching as a holy war this time around.
Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.