Times West Virginian
West Virginia University’s women’s basketball team will be looking for a measure of revenge at 7:30 p.m. today when it takes on a St. Bonaventure team that beat the Mountaineers at the Coliseum last year, 56-48.
That was the Mountaineers’ first loss of the season and just their fifth to the Bonnies in 22 games. It was the first time St. Bonaventure had ever beaten WVU on its home court.
Fans who bring a new, unwrapped toy to contribute to the Students Helping Other People (SHOP) and Toy Mountain will receive a free admission coupon to an upcoming women’s game.
The Bonnies (5-5) return two starters and seven total letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 31-4, an undefeated 14-0 in Atlantic 10 play and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. St. Bonaventure comes to Morgantown off a 64-55 win at Buffalo this past Wednesday. SBU trailed Buffalo by one point at halftime, but junior guard Ashley Zahn recorded 19 second-half points to help the team to the win. Junior forward Doris Ortega added another 15 points and co-led with two others in rebounding with six boards.
Ortega is St. Bonaventure’s leading scorer this season as she averages 11.2 points per game on 35.7 percent (35-98) shooting. Ortega is also the leading rebounder with 7.1 rebounds per game and is a 70.5 percent (31-44) free-throw shooter. Cece Dixon, who was out last game, is the team’s second-leading scorer with 10.2 points per game and 16 3-pointers this season.
Zahn is the third-leading scorer with 9.8 points per game and is the leading 3-point shooter as she has collected 21-of-60 (35 percent) from beyond the arc. Alaina Walker is the second-leading rebounder with 6.1 boards per game and leads the team in steals with 15.
Like the Mountaineers, St. Bonaventure is a defensive-minded team and has held opponents to 55.4 points per game this season.
The Mountaineers (5-2), who are ranked No. 23 in the USA Today Sports/ESPN Coaches’ Poll, are 5-0 this season when holding the opposition to 60 points or fewer. A key factor in holding opponents under 60 points comes from beyond the arc as the Mountaineers have held opponents to only 22 percent shooting from 3-point range, the fourth-lowest average in the Big 12 and ninth-lowest average nationally.
The FIU Thanksgiving Classic propelled Taylor Palmer into the Mountaineers’ season scoring leader role as she averages 10.4 points per game. Behind Palmer, senior Ayana Dunning averages 10.1 points per game and Christal Caldwell chips in 9.1 points per game. Dunning serves as the team’s leading rebounder with 6.9 boards per game, while sophomore Crystal Leary matches Dunning in the rebounding role, also with 6.9 rebounds per game. Leary is coming off the first double-double of her career at Marshall.
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Bob Huggins had a couple of interviews with Virginia media on Friday and admits he was very disappointed in them.
“They talked about the highlights of the all-time West Virginia-Virginia Tech series and they never mentioned how I busted them for 28 in a big win here at the Coliseum,” Huggins said.
Indeed he had. His career high is 28 points and it came in a victory against the Hokies, but it wasn’t mentioned.
“They wanted to talk about Jerry West beating them in the Southern Conference Tournament and all that kind of stuff. I just don’t understand,” he said, jokingly.
And how did it come around?
“Actually, it was just one of those days,” he said, adding with a laugh. “I quit listening to the bench that day.”
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Huggins has been battling a hacking cough for quite a while, and it was really affecting him badly after the VMI game.
He says it has improved but that he wears down during the day and it gets worse as the day goes on.
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Forward Volodymyr Gerun comes eligible after a six-game NCAA suspension for playing professionally overseas and will make his Mountaineer debut today. He is known a shooting threat but at 6-10 also should be able to help on the boards.
He still is not fluent in English.