Sophomore Taylor Palmer led the West Virginia women's basketball team in scoring for the fourth-straight game, paving the way to a 63-52 victory over La Salle Wednesday evening at the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers (4-2) held a 35-22 halftime lead, but a sluggish start to the second half allowed the Explorers (2-6) to come within five points, twice, down to the 5:49 mark. Palmer hit back-to-back threes to pull WVU out to a 59-48 lead with 4:47 remaining, which it never let up.
Palmer led the Mountaineers with 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting including four 3-pointers. It was the third 20-point outing for Palmer this season and fifth double-figure scoring game. Behind Palmer, junior Asya Bussie added 18 points and senior Natalie Burton came off the bench to give the Mountaineers a boost in the first half with 10 points in seven minutes.
WVU continues its streak of holding opponents under 60 points as the Explorers were led by Alexis Scott with 21 points and Brittany Wilson with 13 points. WVU had a slight advantage in shooting as it went 43.9 percent (25-57) from the field. La Salle shot 20-of-50 for 40 percent.
Defensively, freshman Crystal Leary led in rebounding for the second consecutive outing as she had 10 rebounds, followed by Jess Harlee who pulled down seven boards. The Mountaineers out-rebounded La Salle 39-30.
WVU committed only two less turnovers (18-16) with Bussie collecting four blocks and Linda Stepney and Harlee combining for five of WVU's eight team steals. The Mountaineers had a total of 18 team assists led by sophomore starting point guard Brooke Hampton with seven. Harlee had six assists and Stepney, who played 18 minutes with injury, dished out five assists.
"Taylor hit some good shots. Linda came in and did some good things," coach Mike Carey said. "It is just frustrating because we struggled to score. We will get it. We have good girls. They work hard in practice and we will get better."
The Mountaineers take back to the court as they play host to Boston University, Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.