For the Times West Virginian
The West Virginia University women’s basketball team will take to the road as it faces USF at 7 p.m. today in Tampa, Fla.
The Bulls (12-10, 4-4) enter this week’s Big East game after falling 77-62 at No. 3/3 Connecticut. USF trailed the Huskies by just three points 36-33 at the half, the smallest halftime deficit for the Bulls in 10 meetings with the Huskies. Connecticut had a small lead in the second half before closing the door on the Bulls by going on a 17-5 run.
The Bulls have taken Big East wins from Cincinnati, Seton Hall twice, and an overtime win over DePaul. In addition to Connecticut, USF has fallen to Georgetown, Louisville and Rutgers.
Three players average double figures led by Jasmine Wynne’s 15.9 points per game. Inga Orekhova and Kaneisha Saunders average 14.0 and 12.0 points per game, respectively. Orekhova became the second-leading scorer in only seven games played, all starts, and averaged 36.3 minutes per game, as she sat the first 15 games due to transfer rules. Orekhova matched Andrell Smith’s 25 3-pointers made this season as the leading 3-point shooters.
Tiffany Conner leads the Bulls on the boards as she averages 5.7 rebounds per game. Wynne is the second-leading rebounder with 5.6 boards per game.
“South Florida got beat by Connecticut and they were only down three at halftime,” coach Mike Carey said. “They have a bunch of guards, 3-point shooters and athletes. We will have our hands full with South Florida, but we need to get one or two more on the road. We have got to be prepared.”
The Mountaineers (15-6, 5-3) enter this week off a 53-32 win over Marquette. WVU held Marquette without a single 3-point field goal as the Golden Eagles were 0-for-10 from 3-point range. Marquette became the first Big East team WVU has held without a single 3-pointer since Syracuse was 0-for-12 in 2004 at the Coliseum. WVU held Marquette to only 10 field goals for the game, the first time in program history the Mountaineers have limited a Big East team to only 10 field goals.
Taylor Palmer had back-to-back double-figure outings last week and continues to lead WVU in scoring with 13.2 points per game. Asya Bussie and Christal Caldwell average 11.7 and 11.6 points per game, respectively.
Caldwell had two consecutive 20-point outings last week, including a career-best 25 points against Georgetown. She has now put up double figures in each of the past 10 games.
Ayana Dunning leads WVU in rebounding, averaging 7.9 rebounds per game. She co-led with Caldwell in the last game as each pulled down seven rebounds. Marquette became the first Big East team to out-rebound WVU this season.
Caldwell is the second leading rebounder with 6.8 boards per game and Bussie rounds out the top three with 6.5 rebounds per game.
WVU leads 6-1 in the all-time series with USF. WVU holds a 2-1 record at USF. The last time USF defeated WVU was in 2006, 66-56, in Tampa — it was the first game in the all-time series. The Mountaineers have defeated the Bulls in the last six outings.