Times West Virginian
West Virginia’s streaking women’s basketball team turned on the defense Sunday as it scored its 11th consecutive victory, 89-56, over Elon to put an end to the non-conference portion of its season.
Only a season-opening loss to Ohio State kept the Mountaineers from running the table and gaining a national ranking.
WVU held Elon’s leading scorer Zora Stephenson, who entered Sunday’s game averaging 13.4 points per game, scoreless in 31 minutes of play, while four Mountaineers recorded scoring numbers in double figures.
Senior center Asya Bussie led WVU for the fourth consecutive game, recording 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 28 minutes. Sophomore guard Bria Holmes added 17 points, including three 3-pointers—all in the first half.
Junior Averee Fields matched a season-high 15 points, previously recorded last week at Duquesne. Fields was flawless from the field, going 6-for-6, pulled down five rebounds, grabbed four steals, dished out two assists and put up a block.
“Averee is getting us some scoring and she can do that for us,” coach Mike Carey explained. “They are either going to help off Averee or help off Asya and that leaves one of them wide open, so we have to be able to score, and Averee has been able to do that for us the last couple games.”
Senior Taylor Palmer rounded out the top four scorers for WVU with 10 points, and co-led on the boards with eight rebounds.
Junior Linda Stepney and senior Brooke Hampton split time at the point guard position, combining for seven of WVU’s 17 assists and four of the Mountaineers’ 12 total steals. Elon had 21 turnovers to WVU’s 10 and lost the battle of the boards 46-33.
Every player on WVU’s active roster saw playing time. WVU jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first three minutes of play with an Fields’ jumper, followed by a pair of threes and a layup from Holmes, and another layup from senior center Asya Bussie. With 7:23 until halftime, Bussie added six points, including four from the free throw line, and another five points from Holmes, during a 16-5 run down to the 2:42 mark.
The Mountaineers entered the locker room at the intermission with a 51-26 lead behind Holmes’ 15 points and Bussie’s 11. WVU limited its turnovers to only four in the first half, while gaining nine points off eight Elon giveaways.
The Mountaineers shot 50 percent (32-64) from the field, only 20 percent (3-15) from 3-point range and 68.8 percent (22-32) from the free throw line. The Phoenix recorded a 37.7 field goal percentage (23-61), 22.2 percent (2-9) from beyond the arc and 57.1 percent (8-14) from the free throw line.
The Phoenix had three players in double figures, led by junior Sam Coffer and senior Kelsey Harris with 11 points apiece. Freshman forward Jenifer Rhodes added 10 points, while leading on the boards with seven rebounds.
The Mountaineers open Big 12 Conference play at Kansas on Thursday, Jan. 2 at 8 p.m., and close the two-game road trip at No. 11/13 Oklahoma State on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.