The West Virginia women's basketball team had four players in double figures with junior Asya Bussie leading the Mountaineers to a 78-53 victory over Boston Saturday at the WVU Coliseum.
The Terriers (3-4) came out shooting hot as they went 54.5 percent (12-22) from the floor in the first half, but the Mountaineers (5-2) came out of halftime and shut them down, limiting Boston to only 20.8 percent (5-24) shooting.
"Overall, the effort was there," coach Mike Carey said. "The first half, for them to shoot 54 percent from the floor is very unlike us and we had a little bit of a heart-to-heart and then they shot 20 percent in the second half. That is what we should be holding opponents to. They played hard and their guards are good."
WVU held a 39-30 halftime lead and extended that out with an 8-0 run over the first five minutes of the second half. A three from the Terriers' Mo Moran put a hiccup in the run as the Mountaineers rattled off five more points, capped by a 3-point from Akilah Bethel. Boston was unable to break the double-digit deficit down as the Mountaineers ran with the lead and never looked back.
Bussie recorded a double-double with a game-leading 17 points and 10 rebounds. Behind Bussie, Taylor Palmer put up 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting and a pair of treys. Jess Harlee and Christal Caldwell rounded out the top four WVU scorers with 10 points each.
The Mountaineers dominated in the paint as they recorded 42 points. WVU capitalized on 21 Terrier turnovers as it earned 33 points off turnovers. The Mountaineer bench also contributed 31 points with every player seeing time on the court.
"Keeping Asya (Bussie) and Yaya (Ayana Dunning) fresh a little bit more helped us," Carey said. "They were more aggressive on the offensive end. We just have to keep getting better. It is going to be roller coaster up and down. I liked some things I saw here today and we got a lot to work on and we will continue to get better."
WVU out-shot Boston as it went 49.2 percent (30-61) to the Terriers' 37 percent (17-46) from the field. Both teams went 33.3 percent from 3-point range and were about the same in free throw shooting as Boston made 68.4 percent (13-19) and WVU made 66.7 percent (14-21).
Boston was led by Chantell Alford, who matched Bussie, with 17 points and behind Alford was Moran with 10 points. Caroline Stewart pulled down six rebounds and Rashidat Agboola had four.
"I liked No. 32 (Chantell Alford) and she was a pretty big guard," Carey said. "Every time that we left their guards open, they hit some threes. Their guards are pretty good, but overall our guards got up the lane and played and did what we had to do. It was good to get everyone in and get everyone some playing time."
The Mountaineers won the battle on the boards with 44 rebounds, while Boston pulled down 26. Behind Bussie's game-leading 10 rebounds, Ayana Dunning pulled down seven boards and had a block.
Freshmen Linda Stepney and Crystal Leary earned the first starts of their Mountaineer careers with Stepney having five assists and four points and Leary grabbing two steals and three rebounds.
"Linda played 24 minutes and that is the most she has played all year," Carey explained. "She did a good job pressuring the ball, pushing the ball up, she scored a little bit for us and then when she got tired you could tell. She really struggles when she gets tired and her conditioning is not there. She gave us some good minutes today. Crystal Leary was a little bit nervous and she is a great athlete. She will get it. She just needs more reps. We just have to continue to get her reps."
Brooke Hampton came in off the bench for 20 minutes behind Stepney to dish out seven assists, while limiting herself to only one turnover.
The WVU women's basketball team next travels to Syracuse in its BIG EAST opener, Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.