Tigers Dismantle Mountaineers

The West Virginia women's basketball team opened their 2006-2007 season by scoring the second-lowest point total in the history of the program, as the LSU Tigers pummeled West Virginia 64-25 in the opening round of the Basketball Traveler's Classic in front of 3,940 onlookers at the Pete Maravich Center in Baton Rouge

Aided by a 33-0 run spanning nearly 20 minutes, the Mountaineers were on the verge of scoring the lowest amount of points in the history of the program. Thanks to a few late baskets in the final minutes, they were able to avoid that dubious feat, which dates back to Kittie Blakemore's first women's basketball squad in 1973 when Fairmont State defeated the Mountaineers 49-24.

Early in the contest, West Virginia closed the Tigers' early lead to 11-10 on a bucket by Chakhia Cole, West Virginia's returning leading scorer. However, the next time the gold and blue found the hoop wouldn't come until midway through the second half on a two-pointer from senior center Olayinka Sanni, after the Tigers had already reeled off 33 unanswered points.

West Virginia finished the game shooting an abysmal 21 percent, making only 9-of-44 field goal attempts. The Mountaineers committed 24 turnovers; one lower than the total amount of points scored in the contest, and created only 4 assists. They also struggled at the charity stripe, sinking just 5-of-13 shots and were outrebounded 24-to-39 by the 10th-ranked Tigers.

Coming off of last year's Final Four appearance, the Tigers showed no rust while sinking 47.9% of their field goal attempts. National Player of the Year candidate Sylvia Fowles led the way with 12 points and used her 6-foot 6-inch frame to snag 12 rebounds. Rashonta Leblanc was also a key factor for LSU's success, having a perfect day from the field in route to an 11 point outing.

Offensively, West Virginia's Cole paced the Mountaineers with 6 points, sinking just 2-of-7 field goals on the afternoon. Fellow junior LaQuita Owens chipped in 4 points on 1-of-6 shooting, and, coming off the bench, junior Lateefah Joye and freshman Janay Armstrong each contributed 4 points.

West Virginia, now 0-1 on the season, looks to rebound from this opening game loss as they take on the Virginia Tech Hokies tomorrow afternoon at 5:45 p.m. The Mountaineers will close out their trip to the Bayou State on Tuesday as they square off with the Howard Bison. Tipoff for that contest is also slated for 5:45 p.m.

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