Women’s basketball uses offense to revenge Pitt
Published: Sunday, February 20, 2011
Updated: Sunday, February 20, 2011 22:02
The West Virginia women's basketball team had no choice.
In order to stay inside the top 10 of the Big East Conference standings and keep its top 25 ranking, the No. 21 Mountaineers had to beat Pittsburgh at the Petersen Events Center Saturday.
WVU did just that, tying a season high by scoring 90 points and beating the Panthers 90-76.
"We needed this bad," said WVU head coach Mike Carey.
The win put the Mountaineers in a three-way tie for eighth place in the Big East standings with a 7-6 conference record, 21-6 overall.
The Mountaineers last scored 90 points when they beat Elon 90-51 on Dec. 2.
West Virginia entered Saturday's game averaging just 54 points per game in its last six games.
"Hopefully, we'll get some confidence from this," Carey said.
Forward Madina Ali led the Mountaineers by recording her eighth double-double of the season, finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Ali led five scorers who finished in double-figure scoring for the Mountaineers. Point guard Sarah Miles finished with 19 points and nine assists, while center Asya Bussie scored 16, guard Liz Repella finished with 15 and guard Vanessa House scored 11.
West Virginia shot 48 percent from the field.
"We had all five starters in double figures, and we hadn't had that all year," Carey said. "The reason was because we pushed the ball."
The Mountaineers outscored the Panthers 45-30 in the first half and hung on for the win, despite Pittsburgh being outscored 49-45 after halftime.
"We really can score," Ali said. "A lot of us were able to be aggressive on the offensive end, and that helped us a lot. It's really important to stay aggressive at all times. You have to go ahead and stay aggressive and be comfortable."
The Mountaineers extended their halftime lead to 21 with 11:56 remaining.
But behind Panther guard Taneisha Harrison, Pitt was able to cut WVU's lead to just eight points with 55 seconds remaining.
Harrison, who scored 30 points against West Virginia on Feb. 5, finished with 28 points, although 11 of those points came off free throws.
Jania Sims, Ashlee Anderson and Yasmin Fuller also scored in double figures for the Panthers.
"I thought we came out and ran the floor really well, especially in the first half," Carey said. "In the second half, we couldn't get a running game going because we kept fouling. They scored a lot of points at the foul line.
"I give our girls a lot of credit because they played hard. We just have to play smarter down the stretch."