Women Crush Big Ten Foe

West Virginia, sparked by Yolanda Paige's school-record 18 assists, sprinted out to an early lead and never looked back in an 89-55 romp over Northwestern at the WVU Coliseum on Monday.

Paige, WVU's stellar point guard, was at her driving and dishing best, racking up ten assists by halftime as the Mountaineers left the Wildcats in the dust with their speedy transition game. WVU (2-0, 0-0) ran at every opportunity, turning steals and rebounds alike into fast break opportunities and easy score. West Virginia had three players in double-figures at the break, but the game belonged to Paige, who recorded two milestones on the evening.

The first came in the opening half, when Paige hit a short shot to put her over the 1000-point mark for her career. She is just the 23rd Mountaineer in school history to surpass that mark, and joined teammate Sherell Sowho in the exclusive club.

With that mark safely stowed away, Paige set her sights on the single-game assist mark of 15 which was set by Rosemary Kosiorek on February 4, 1992, and it wasn't long before it fell. She tied the record (and broke the Coliseum mark) on a dish to Meg Bulger for a three-pointer, and then promptly broke the mark with another feed to the super sophomore, who banked in a shot to give Paige the record. The pair completed something of a hat trick with another Paige to Bulger combination on the Mountaineers' next possession, which gave Paige the 17th of her 18 dishes.

WVU had a pair of huge runs, one in each half, to completely bury the visiting Wildcats. The Mountaineers had a 25-9 run as they sped out to a 49-26 halftime lead, and added a 22-5 sprint in the second half after Northwestern had cut the margin to 55-37.

Paige's performance, which also included 11 points, was the highlight, but hardly the only, strong performance from this much deeper edition of the Mountaineers. Meg Bulger racked up 24 points on the strength of 5-7 shooting from three-point range, while Sherell Sowho matched that scoring figure with an outstanding 9-10 performance from the field, including 4-4 from three point range. Center Yelena Leuchanka showed a glimpse of her offensive ability as well, scoring 17 points on a perfect 8-8 performance from the floor.

WVU next heads to Florida for a date with Wichita State on Friday in the first round of the Florida International Thanksgiving Classic in Miami.

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