Picking Up The Slack

How many times has a team rallied around its fallen star and pulled off a big win?

It happened again Tuesday night as the WVU women's team, playing without Meg Bulger, knocked off the 11th-ranked DePaul Blue Demons by the score of 82-70.

LaQuita Owens led all scorers for the Mountaineers, dropping in 20 points on the strength of 6-11 shootin from three point range. Chakhia Cole had 17 points, Olayinka Sanni added 13 points, and Britney Davis-White and Tameka Kelly each had 10 in the balanced WVU attack.

For DePaul Khara Smith led all scorers with 20 points. Allie Quigley chipped in 14, and Jenna Rubino added 12.

The Mountaineers played one of their most complete games of the season,as they did not trail at any point in the game. West Virginia dominated in all areas of the game, but most noticeably from the foul line as they dropped in 23-28 shots from the charity stripe.

In the absence of Bulger, the question was, wou would step in to fill her shoes? The answer, as it turned out, was everyone. Every player that stepped onto the floor for WVU had at least three points and one rebound. WVU outrebounded DePaul 35-25 for the game, and also won the battle of bench points as they put in 19.

WVU started out fast as Owens and Sanni scored seven of the home team's first eight points to start the Mountaineers off on an 8-0 run. Sanni had eight points in the first half, and had two more consecutive lay-ups to extend WVU's lead to 17-10. After DePaul's Claudette Towers hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 17-16, Kelly hit a jumper and Owens hit her first three-pointer to take WVU's lead back to eight at 24-16. Owens caught fire after her first triple, as she connected on back-to-back threes to give WVU its first double digit lead of the night at 36-24. WVU led at the half 42-28.

In the second half DePaul came out strongly as Caprice Smith hit a three, Smith made a lay-up to cut WVU's lead to 42-33. The lead hovered around the ten point mark until Quigley and Rachel Carney connected on two three-pointers to cut the Mountaineers' lead down to five.

Unfortunately for the Blue Demons that would be as close as they would get, as a Davis-White jumper extended the lead back to ten. Owens drove the final nail in the coffin as she drained another three to put WVU too far ahead to be caught at 72-55.

For the game, WVU shot 25-46 from the field and 7-15 from beyond the arc. DePaul shot 29-60 from the field and 8-22 from three.

The win improves the Mountaineers to 12-7 on the season and 4-4 in the Big East. DePaul falls to 18-4 and 5-4 in conference. WVU jumps back into action this Saturday as they battle the third-ranked UConn Huskies. Connecticut is 19-2 on the season and 14-1 at home. Tip time for the game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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