Yinka Sanni scored 21 points as the No. 13 Mountaineers beat Villanova 76-55 Saturday. The All-Big East center dominated the smaller Villanova lineup, hitting three inside baskets in the first four Mountaineer field goals to jumpstart an 11-0 run to begin the game. That was part of a 22-2 push that put the West Virginia in control for the duration just midway into the opening half.
Villanova never got within single digits again in surrendering 38 points in the paint and getting outrebouned 37-27.
Liz Repella came off the bench to match a career-high with 13 points for West Virginia (22-4, 11-2 Big East). Meg Bulger and Chakia Cole chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the balanced effort. Bulger hit four of five 3-pointers in her first start since returning from a midseason knee injury. The All-American was inserted into the line-up in place of LaQuita Owens, who was indefinitely suspended for violation of team rules.
Villanova (15-12, 5-9) was led by 11 points apiece from Laura Kurz and Maria Getty. But the Wildcats, the Big East leader in fewest turnovers, committed 10 by the break and finished with 14, leading to 18 points in losing for the sixth time in as many games to ranked teams this season.
Kurz and Lisa Karic, the Big East leader's in 3-pointers per game and 3-point shooting percentage, combined to miss all 10 of their shots from behind the arc. WVU made seven of 10 from the outside to Villanova's eight of 26. The teams were ranked first and second in the league in 3-point shooting coming into the game.
The win marked just the third time in 16 games that the Mountaineers beat Villanova. West Virginia next faces rival Pitt on the road on Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. CSTV will televise the game.