Ladies Extend Streak, Move to 9-0

West Virginia actually trailed for once in a game this month, but that didn't faze Mike Carey and his undefeated squad.

The Mountaineers improved their best start ever to 9-0 with a big non-conference win over the visiting Dukes of Duquesne, 79-53 in Morgantown.

Duquesne jumped out to a quick 12-3 lead on some sweet outside shooting as the Mountaineer defense scrambled to get in the face of the Dukes. The Mountaineers appeared a bit shocked early on at the size of the ladies in blue. WVU was unable to find anything from the outside, and big girls were actually able to get a hand in Kate Bulger's face and force West Virginia to find an alternate plan, very similar to last year's contest in Pittsburgh.

But, unlike last year, 12-3 was as bad as it would get - after a media and a West Virginia timeout, the Mountaineers would surge on a 12-0 run and take the lead pretty much for good.

With Kate Bulger struggling overall and Duquesne not allowing a single three-point field goal, West Virginia had to turn to its overall speed and newly found size and muscle inside. Liz Holbrook came off the bench, and, despite not having a significant height or weight advantage, dominated in the paint with some quick and slick moves around and over the Dukes' defense. That allowed Sherell Sowho and Yolanda Paige to bring their speed into the act - the Dukes were blind to all the Mountaineer moves and they were able to get the easy layups, very similar to what Wright State was actually able to do to the Mountaineers just a few days earlier.

West Virginia went into the locker room with a solid 34-25 lead at the half, respectable considering Duquesne's record of 6-1 against pretty good competition this year. But, before anyone in the Coliseum could blink, West Virginia broke the game wide open and took a 20 point lead, which the Dukes were only able to chisel to about 16 a couple of times with about 10 minutes to go. Carey was able to clear the bench, with the exception of maybe one player, with two minutes left in the game as West Virginia cruised to the surprisingly easy 26-point victory.

Sherell Sowho led the Mountaineers with 21 points on 7-10 shooting from the field, a great effort to help make up for a struggling Kate Bulger, who, to her credit, the Dukes had keyed on all night and held to five points on 2-10 shooting. Right behind Sherell was Liz Holbrook, who had her best game as a Mountaineer so far with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and four steals on 8-14 shooting from the field.

Michelle Carter continued the inside assault with 16 points on 7-19 shooting and seven rebounds, and Eartha White pulled down 11 rebounds while scoring four. Yolanda Paige continued her passing frenzy, dishing out 11 assists while scoring seven of her own, and Janell Dunlap scored five points and pulled five rebounds off the bench.

Duquesne was led by Aiga Bautre who scored 12 points on 5-13 shooting from the field. The Dukes were held to 38% shooting to West Virginia's "struggle" at 41%, including an 0-6 mark from three-point range.

West Virginia advances to 9-0 and is off until a December 29 match at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and, hopefully a shot at a top-25 ranking. Duquesne, who had received some votes in the last top-25 poll, falls to 6-2.

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