The West Virginia women's basketball team came back from a 14-point deficit to defeat Cincinnati 66-62, Saturday, at the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Mountaineers (20-8, 10-5) never led by more than five points in the win, putting a stop to the Bearcats' (15-13, 6-9) four-game win streak.
West Virginia trailed by as many as 14 points (16-2) with 13:28 in the first half, but an 11-2 run made it a five-point game (18-13) with 6:25 until the break. Cincinnati worked to pull back away, but WVU never gave up as a Brooke Hampton 3-pointer with 2:22 until halftime sparked a 7-0 run. WVU went into the halftime break trailing 28-26.
Out of the half, the teams traded the lead five times with nine ties. The Mountaineers pulled away from the final tie, 54-54, with a free throw from Ayana Dunning, followed by a Christal Caldwell jumper for a three-point lead and 3:12 left. The Bearcats cut the lead to two, twice, with a final Bjonee Reaves' layup with 22 seconds, but forced to buy time they fouled Hampton, who converted both free throws to seal the win.
WVU was co-led in scoring by Asya Bussie and Caldwell with 15 points each. Jess Harlee and Hampton each contributed eight points. Ayana Dunning also contributed eight points, all in the second half. The Mountaineers dominated the paint 40-28.
WVU improved its shooting from 34.6 percent (9-26) in the first half to 53.8 percent (14-26) in the second half, finishing the game shooting 44.2 percent (23-52) from the field. Cincinnati finished the game shooting 44 percent (22-50), and took the advantage from 3-point range as it converted 6-of-17 attempts (35.3%). The Mountaineers had two threes, shooting 28.6 percent from beyond the arc.
The Mountaineers took advantage of the free throw line, converting 12-of-15 (80%), while the Bearcats converted 81.8 percent (18-22).
Behind Dunning's game-leading 11 rebounds, WVU took a 32-27 advantage on the boards. The Mountaineers were also successful in forcing 14 turnovers to 13 of their own.
Cincinnati was led by Reaves with 22 points, nine coming from the free throw line. Chanel Chisholm and Dayeesha Hollins chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively. Chisholm was also the Bearcats' rebounding leader with six boards.
Coach Mike Carey extended the bench to nine players and all players contributed in scoring with WVU's bench out-scoring UC's bench 17-2.
The West Virginia women's basketball team returns home for its final game of the regular season at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 27 against Pitt. The Mountaineers will celebrate senior night and honor Natalie Burton. The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network with Deb Antonelli and Brent Stover. Live stats and a full recap of Monday's game can be found online at MSNsportsNET.com.