West Virginia Women Top Louisville

Meg Bulger and Yinka Sanni both scored 20 points as No. 13 West Virginia sealed a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament with a 78-70 win over Louisville on Saturday.

The duo combined for 28 of the first 33 West Virginia points to pace the Mountaineers through a lackadaisical opening half. Chakia Cole and Bulger hit 3-pointers early in the second period to jumpstart a run and Lateefah Joye added her only career three to take the lead for good at 46-44 with 12:30 remaining. It was part of 11 3-pointers – including six by Bulger – that helped West Virginia set a new single-season school record with 208.

Louisville was led by Angel McCoughtry's 29 points. Candice Bigham added 13 and two other players each chipped in 11. Cole had 13 for West Virginia (23-5, 12-3 Big East), which has won the third-most games in school history.

The Cardinals (20-8, 9-6) held WVU scoreless for more than 10 minutes in the opening half to lead 29-17 with four minutes left. The Mountaineers finally responded with a pair of 3-pointers and their initial free throws off a Louisville technical to score 14 of the final 17 points of the period. The run got West Virginia within 32-31 at the break and the teams battled to no larger than a six-point differential until it assumed control with a 10-1 run inside the final three minutes of the game for a 71-61 edge with 90 seconds left.

The teams top two players were on the bench for much of the second half. Louisville point guard Patrika Barlow fouled out with more than 12 minutes left while Sanni was on the bench with four fouls from the 13:52 mark until there were just four minutes left. It was Senior Day for West Virginia, one of just 12 teams in NCAA history to have four 1,000-point scorers on the same squad. The seven seniors mark the largest class in school history.

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