From there, Rutgers ripped off a 12-3 run before Bulger responded with another three, her 51st of the season, to make the score 18-11. But, the rebounding and shooting prowess of Rutgers proved too much, as the closest the score would get after that point would be 22-13.
The Mountaineers, who were really only in the game in that first five minutes, looked as if they'd cave after surrendering a 33-18 score at the half and allowing the Scarlet Knights to pull out to a 44-21 lead early in the second half. But, the 23 point margin was as large as it would get, this after five early second half turnovers and a technical foul on Coach Mike Carey. West Virginia was able to find a bit of an offensive groove, making some shots after shooting 32% in the first half and drawing fouls to put key players Kate Bulger and Latitia Williams to the free throw lines.
In addition, Sherell Sowho, who had gone zero for her first nine shots, came into it a little and managed to score seven in the half. Janell Dunlap also made a good contribution off the bench late, scoring six points. West Virginia actually managed to close the game to within 12 points at 61-49 with 1:35 left in the game, but it was too little, too late. However, the Mountaineers did not give up and had their chances to get back into the game and make a run at it.
Nonetheless, West Virginia drops to 1-9 on the season and faces another tough conference match-up at home against Miami this Saturday. The Mountaineers were able to get a bit of their shooting touch back in the second half but need to find a way to get consistency out of more than one or two players.
The good news for the Mountaineers is they are tied with St. John's for the bubble spot to get into the Big East tournament, and will face the Red Storm at home in 10 days. Plus, they have good chances for wins still down the road and could pull a winning season out of the bag despite the struggles for the past month. The bad news is, they're going to have to find a way to put their troubles behind them (the second half was a start) and get some of that magic that worked early on in the season against the weaker foes.
West Virginia was led by Bulger, who scored 16 points on 4-8 shooting, including going 2-3 from beyond the arc and 6-7 from the line. With the 16, Kate now has 1,124 points for her career, good enough to move her past Mary Hennen's 1,112 into 15th on WVU's all-time scoring list.
Michelle Carter was the only other Mountaineer in double digits this evening, scoring 10 on 3-5 shooting, 4-6 from the line. Sherell Sowho finished the game with eight, Janell Dunlap seven, Yolanda Paige four, Latitia Williams three, and Eartha White with two.
Rutgers advances to 15-5, 8-2 in conference play and a perfect 9-0 at home this season.