Women Make It 2-2 Against Delaware State

It wasn't pretty, but it looked pretty easy.

The West Virginia University women's basketball team overcame 20 turnovers and a sub-50% game from the free throw line to "soundly" defeat the Delaware State Hornets 69-38 and improve to 5-0, matching the best start in school history. The 1996 and 1988 Mountaineer squads both began the season with the same 5-0 record.

The Mountaineers were handicapped a bit going in - point guard Yolanda Paige missed the start as she has been suffering from flu-like symptoms all week. That thrust true freshman (and invited walk-on) Ashley Dunn into the starting spot. While not spectacular, Dunn was solid in handling the duty in the time she was in. The result? West Virginia jumped out to a 6-0 lead on the Hornets and never looked back. The closest the game would get would be 8-5, after Terelle Waller hit a quick three.

The first half pretty much saw an even distribution among the Mountaineers. Paige's time was limited and Kate Bulger had what I would consider her worst half of the year, shooting 0-5 from the floor and leading the team in turnovers. But, the newly found muscle of the Mountaineers in forwards Liz Holbrook and Michelle Carter were able to fill the gap, dominating the Hornets on the inside with nine points each. Sherell Sowho again stepped up to the task and Jannell Dunlap put in some quality minutes for Bulger, scoring five.

On the other side, Delaware State saw one bright spot in a sea of darkness. While the Hornets committed 14 fouls and 14 turnovers, sophomore Najmah Fauntleroy pulled down 11 boards, the only thing that kept the game close with West Virginia's poor shooting. The Mountaineers took a 36-16 lead into the locker room.

Whatever Coach Mike Carey said at the half woke, at least, Kate Bulger up. Kate scored the first 12 points of the second half on four straight three-point field goals. But even that wasn't enough to pull the Mountaineers away by much more. Delaware State responded well, keeping the game within 24 at 53-29 at the second media timeout, and actually pulling the game to 55-34 with 7:07 left. From there, it was all WVU, finishing the game on a 12-4 run to cap the 69-38 victory.

The stats are very telling - this could easily have been a 40 to 50 point victory for West Virginia, had there been consistency in play. West Virginia shot 45%, 25-55 from the field, but hit on only 13 of 27 free throws. Delaware State shot an awful 25%, 15-60 from the field and 6-23 from the line. State actually got more shots off than the Mountaineers, thanks primarily to offensive rebounding. All in all, WVU out-rebounded DSU 52-42, but nearly matched the Hornets in turnovers, 20-21.

West Virginia was led in scoring by Kate Bulger with 17 points on 7-13 shooting, including 4-7 from beyond the arc, for the record, getting her to 907 points for her career and 152 three-point field goals. Bulger was tied in scoring by Sowho with 17 on 7-13 shooting. Liz Holbrook came off the bench for a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Michelle Carter just missed the double-double with 9 points and 12 rebounds. Janell Dunlap, as I said, played well off the bench with eight points, Kristen Kilgore had three, Eartha White and Latitia Williams had two each.

Delaware State was led by Terelle Waller with 11 points on 4-15 shooting and Erica Irick with seven. Najmah Fauntleroy pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds but scored just two points.

West Virginia (5-0) travels to Moon Township, PA to face Robert Morris on Saturday. Delaware State falls to 0-2.


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