Thanksgiving Miracle for WVU's Asya Bussie - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Thanksgiving Miracle for WVU's Asya Bussie


It's the time of year when we all sit back and reflect on what it is that we have to be thankful for.

Some of us will reflect on family, friends, food and football as we down turkey and pie on Thursday, but for Asya Bussie, the gift is a bit more specific as the holiday approaches.

Sidelined for her senior season with a torn ACL, the WVU women's basketball standout has had even more free time to spend with her dog lately.

On Monday, the little rascal got loose from his collar while out on a walk with some friends and he ran away. Try as they might, Bussie and her friends couldn't find Lil Wan (named after WVU men's basketball guard Juwan Staten, who shares custody of the two-year-old Chihuahua mix).

As you can imagine, or perhaps you've even experienced, losing a pet can be a frightening affair with no guarantee of a happy ending. The search party stayed out until about 3 a.m. before calling off their efforts and waiting until daylight to begin again.

"I made signs and posted them all in their neighborhood and dropped them off at places close by and I called the pound to see if someone turned a dog in," says Bussie. "I was just going to wait and see if I get a phone call while we're in Miami and just hope that someone calls and says they found him or they've seen him somewhere."

Oh yes, there's that minor detail. Staten and the men's team left for Orlando on Tuesday and Bussie was scheduled to fly out to Miami with the women's team on Wednesday. So not only would they be leaving without knowing where Lil Wan was, but they could no longer be a part of the search to bring him home.

Then on Wednesday, with the media waiting on Coach Mike Carey and a few players before they jetted off for the Thanksgiving Classic, sophomore guard Linda Stepney made a discovery.

The first to leave WVU's basketball practice facility, Stepney saw a dog and pointed it out to her teammates. She may not have recognized the little guy, but the other Mountaineers did. Lil Wan had returned to his owner, miles away from where he had left her.

"A lot of people talk about how he does follow me everywhere and sits on my lap all day, he wants to sleep in the bed, so the whole team thinks that has something to do with it," says Bussie. "If he would've been here 30 minutes later or even 30 minutes earlier, we probably would've missed him. As soon as I walked out the door, he was right there."

She immediately called friends of hers to come pick up Lil Wan and take him to the pet shop to get a harness for his leash so that a similar situation wouldn't happen again.

What may otherwise have been a stressful trip to Miami, wondering where Lil Wan was or what he was doing to feed himself, would now be one full of relief and a renewed focus on what the Mountaineers had to accomplish in tournament play. 

"It feels really good knowing that I don't have to worry and be expecting a phone call or just being concerned and wondering where he is," she says. "I can actually go and enjoy myself and come back knowing my dog is okay."

The basketball practice facility hasn't even been open for a whole year, yet it's apparently enough of a home for WVU's athletes at this point that even their pets know to make their way to its front doors if ever they find themselves lost.

This Morgantown version of Homeward Bound turned out to be Bussie's Thanksgiving miracle.

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