Christal Caldwell's 18 points led the way to a 79-63 West Virginia women's basketball victory over Seton Hall, Tuesday at the WVU Coliseum.
"It [Caldwell scoring] is very important because it gives us another scorer," WVU coach Mike Carey said. "She is playing better. We need her to continue to play better. Taylor (Palmer) is struggling a little bit right now shooting so we need her to get her confidence back. If we can ever get Taylor, Christal Caldwell and Brooke Hampton scoring at the same time with our two posts, we are going to put up some points."
Behind Caldwell, three others put up double figures with Asya Bussie recording 15 points, Linda Stepney chipping in 12 points and Brooke Hampton draining 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting.
The Mountaineers (12-4, 3-1) shot 55.6 percent (10-18) from 3-point range, sinking 10 threes with a perfect 3-of-3 coming from both Hampton and Stepney. Caldwell added a pair of treys, while Jess Harlee and Taylor Palmer each put in one.
"We expected No. 4 (Brooke Hampton) to come in and shoot the ball well and I wasn't thinking No. 22 (Linda Stepney) was going to light us up like she did. It is tough," Seton Hall coach Anne Donovan said. "Our weakness is our interior game and their strength is their interior game, so if you put any kind of focus on trying to take that away or if you happen to fall asleep on a guard, they make a nice play on the perimeter. They have a nicely, well balanced team. Their guard play was the difference. They really stepped up and took shots early and that took us out of the zone that I hoped we were going to be able to play in for a longer stretch."
The Pirates' (7-11, 0-4) guards responded as Brittany Morris, Jasmine Crew and Terry Green combined for 57 of Seton Hall's 63 total points. Morris led the way as she made 4-of-7 3-pointers and had a game-leading 24 points, but Crew wasn't far behind as she had 23 points, including 11-of-12 from the free throw line.
WVU went into halftime with a 40-21 lead and was able to outlast Seton Hall as the Pirates outscored the Mountaineers 42-39 in the second half.
"I am not all about points," Carey explained. "I am all about making stops. The points will come. We have to do a better job of defending on the perimeter. The Villanova game we were really focused and really paid attention to details defensively. I am a defensive coach, not an offensive coach. I care about the offense, but we are not going to play defense like that."
West Virginia improved its shooting from the first half to the second to finish up with 50 percent (24-48) from the field, while limiting Seton Hall to 36.4 percent (20-55).
On the boards, WVU out-rebounded SHU, 37-26, with Caldwell and Bussie each pulling down nine rebounds. Bussie also put up four blocks in the defensive effort. The Pirates' Tajay Asmeade had seven rebounds. WVU lost in the turnover battle with 18, as Seton Hall limited its own turnovers to 13.
"I like to say that we handled their pressure better in the second half, but that wasn't the case," Donovan said. "They showed why they are nationally ranked defensively. They do a great job taking teams out of their offense and Seton Hall was one of their victims tonight."
The Mountaineers return to BIG EAST competition at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14 at Providence.