Second Half Rally

Meg Bulger led all scorers with 18 points as the West Virginia Mountaineers picked up a much-needed win over rival Marshall 72-58 in the first game of the Capital Classic.

Chakhia Cole added 15 points, and nine rebounds, Britney Davis-White matched Cole's scoring total, and Yelena Leuchenka was the fourth player in double figures for the Mountaineers as she dropped in 13 points.

The team started off sluggishly as it fell behind 30-27 at the half, and it looked like it was going to be another nail biter for WVU But thanks to big second halves from Cole and Leuchanka, the Mountaineers pulled away as they went on an 11-0 run out of the gates in the second half and were never really tested after that point.

Head coach Mike Carey talked about the lack of focus and heart shown by these young Mountaineers, and it was evident in the first half as WVU went through some extended scorelss stretches. Bulger and Davis-White scored 16 of the Mountaineers' 27 points in that half.

In the second half, it was a different story. WVU couldn't miss for the first three minutes as Davis-White and Bulger picked up where they left off in the first half going on an 11-0 run of their own to give WVU a 38-30 lead.

At the 14-minute mark the lead hit double figures for the first time, as a basket by Cole put WVU up 44-33. The lead increased to 16 when Leuchanka got involved by hitting a lay up of her own to put WVU up 57-41. The lead continued to build as the third inside player for the Mountaineers, Olayinka Sanni, connected on a hoop that put WVU up 68-51. Sanni sat on the bench for much of the game with foul trouble, but Leuchanka picked up the slack on the inside for the WVU.

The Mountaineers still struggled with turnovers, committing 21 for the game, and posted only 10 assists. This has become a reoccurring problem for WVU, as they average around 18 turnovers a game. For WVU to be able to compete with their next three opponents (St. John's, DePaul, and Connecticut), it must cut down on the fouls and turnovers, or all three of those games could turn into routs.

WVU jumps back into action on Saturday when they face the St. John's Red Storm. St John's comes into the game with a 15-3 record and 5-2 in the Big East. WVU improved to 11-6 and remains 3-3 in the conference. The Mountaineers' next three games are against teams who either are ranked or have votes in the top 25. Tip time for the game is scheduled for high noon.

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