Ayana Dunning paved the way with a double-double as the West Virginia women's basketball team closed out a 55-52 win over USF, Wednesday, at the USF Recreation Center.
The Mountaineers (16-6, 6-3) came out of a 25-22 halftime deficit and went on a 10-0 run to pull away 32-27 over the Bulls (12-11, 4-5) with 15:27 left. USF battled back to make it a one-point game at the 12:39 mark, but WVU was able to maintain control with six-straight free throws and back-to-back field goals. The Mountaineers held onto an 11-point deficit three times in the second half, with the final time at the 3:43 mark.
An Andrell Smith 3-pointer capped a USF 9-0 run down to the 1:02 mark, making it a 2-point game. The Bulls' late comeback attempt fell short as the Mountaineer defense held tight and Asya Bussie came down with a rebound, keeping USF from having a final possession.
Up 11-2 in the first half, the Mountaineers held the Bulls without a field goal until the 11:43 mark when Smith hit a three, which sparked a 13-2 run to allow USF control. A Taylor Palmer 3-pointer kept WVU in the game, 16-15, but the Bulls out-scored the Mountaineers 10-6 into halftime.
Dunning recorded 15 points and pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds. Christal Caldwell followed Dunning's lead with 10 points and seven rebounds. Linda Stepney added nine points and dished out four assists. The Mountaineers out-rebounded the Bulls, 51-28.
USF was led by Jasmine Wynne with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Inga Orekova added another 10 points.
Shooting was cold for both teams as WVU shot 32.6 percent (15-46) and USF was 30.2 percent (16-53) from the field. The Mountaineers sunk only a pair of 3-pointers, while the Bulls had 5-of-17 attempts (29.4%). Free throws helped both teams as WVU converted 23-of-36 (63.9%) and USF made 15-of-22 (68.2%).
The Mountaineers return home to continue BIG EAST play on Saturday, Feb. 4 against Louisville. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. and live stats and streaming of the game will be available online at MSNsportsNet.com. The game will also be broadcast live on WVPBS.