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November 23, 2012

WVU to open Thanksgiving Classic with LSU

MORGANTOWN — The No. 12/14 West Virginia women’s basketball team will open the FIU Thanksgiving Classic in Miami, Fla., at 8 p.m. on Friday, against LSU.

WVU enters today’s game riding a three-game winning streak, defeating UNC Wilmington and USC Upstate at home, while coming back from a halftime deficit to defeat Boston University.

Senior Ayana Dunning leads WVU in both scoring and rebounding with 12.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Dunning may recognize some familiar faces around the LSU program as she began her collegiate career with the Tigers, and transferred to WVU after her freshman season.

Last week, true freshman Bria Holmes provided a spark off the bench, averaging 10.0 points per game, with a career-best team-leading 14 points in the win over USC Upstate to move up as the second-leading scorer for WVU with 9.0 points per game.

Holmes, sophomore Crystal Leary, also off the bench, rounds out the top three scorers for the Mountaineers with 8.0 points per game, and also is the second-leading rebounder as she pulled down a game-leading 10 rebounds in the last outing, averaging 7.3 rebounds per game this season. The Mountaineers’ bench has stepped up this season, accounting for 49.2 percent (104/211) of its overall scoring.

LSU enters Friday’s game on a two-game losing streak, falling at Hampton, 67-58, on Nov. 16 and at Georgetown, 71-69 on Nov. 19. The Tigers are 1-2 overall, defeating Wichita State 72-70 in their home and season opener and 0-2 on the road.

Junior forward Theresa Plaisance leads LSU in both scoring and rebounding with 15.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. She also leads the team in blocked shots and steals with six and nine, respectively.

Senior guard Adrienne Webb follows with 15.0 points per game and is the Tigers’ leading 3-point shooter with a 37.5 3-point field goal percentage on 6-of-16 shooting. Senior guard Bianca Lutley rounds out the top three scorers with 13.3 points per game.

In the last outing at Georgetown, LSU’s Webb led all players with 21 points, while Plaisance chipped in another 20. Webb also was responsible for 3-of-5 total 3-pointers for LSU. Junior guard Jeanne Kenney helped with 11 points in the last outing and dished out eight assists. The Tigers’ attempt to come back from a nine-point deficit fell short in the final 1:22 at Georgetown.

The Tigers return three starters and six overall letter winners from last year’s squad that went 23-11 under then-first year head coach Nikki Caldwell. Last season, the Tigers advanced to the NCAA second round.

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