With eight minutes to go in the second half, Bulger's left knee buckled inward while she was driving to the basket. She was unable to put any pressure on her leg and had to be helped off the court. She returned to the WVU bench to cheer on her team, but again had to be helped to the locker room following the game.
The extent of the injury to Bulger's knee was not known.
St. John's took advantage of Bulgers absence to pull away down the stretch. Other players in double figures for the Red Storm included Angela Clark, who flashed to the offensive boards for several of her 17 points, Greeba Barlow with 12 and Tara Walker with 11. St. Johns improved their record to 17-3 and 7-2 in the Big East with the win.
For WVU Britney Davis-White had a very impressive game as she scored 18 points. Bulger had 14 before departing, and Chakhia Cole added 12 points.
WVU and St. Johns went back and fourth in the first half, as the biggest lead either team managed over the first 15 minutes was four points. St John's then got a three-pointer from Barlow and two more baskets as they extended the lead to 44-35 at halftime.
The Mountaineers put up a valiant effort as Olayinka Sanni hit a basket to cut St. John's lead back down to 46-41 in the opening minutes of the second half. A three-pointer from Bulger and a layup by Cole had everything set up for WVU to take the lead, and Davis-White fulfilled the scenarion with a three-pointer to give WVU its first lead of the second half at 53-52. The lead was short lived as Clark made a layup, was fouled, and converted the ensuing free throw to put St. John's back in the lead at 55-53. That basket started a 12-0 run for the Red Storm that was capped off by a layup by Danielle Chambers which extended the lead to 64-53.
WVU wasn't finished though, as Davis-White hit another crucial three-pointer that cut the lead to 64-58 with eight minutes to go in the second half. After Bulger's injury on the next series, Laquita Owens came in to the game and scored six straight points to tie the game up at 64. WVU would continue to battle, but a basket by Walker with just under a minute to go gave the Johnnies a lead of 71-67 that they would not reliquish.
Bulger's status is obviously crucial for the Mountaineers, and comes at a critical juncture in the Big East season. With its next two games agains top 15 teams DePaul and UConn, the Mountaineers are facing the meat of the conference schedule. WVU will have to get production from Owens, Sanni and Yelena Leuchanka, among others if they want to be competitive in these matchups.
WVU's next contest, against DePaul, comes on Tuesday night at the Coliseum. DePaul comes in ranked 11th in the country with a record of 18-3 and 5-3 in the Big East. WVU is now 11-7 and 3-4 in the Big East. Tip time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.