WVU’s Strong Opening Half Leads to Win

  • By Katie Kane
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  • February 22, 2014 08:23 PM
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Senior guard Christal Caldwell recorded her third 20-point  outing with a game-leading 21 points at K-State.
Dale Sparks/All-Pro Photography photo
MANHATTAN, Kan.  – Senior guard Christal Caldwell used 14 points in the opening half to propel the No. 13 West Virginia women’s basketball team to a 61-40 victory at Kansas State, Saturday.
The Mountaineers have won their last seven games and are currently 24-3 overall and 13-2 in Big 12 play. WVU is now 7-1 in Big 12 road play, with its sole road league loss at Texas.
The Wildcats (10-15, 4-10) opened the game with a pair of threes to take an early 6-0 lead. WVU used a 15-2 run over six minutes of the opening half, while K-State shot 1-for-5 during that time, to gain control of the game, 15-8. The Mountaineers continued the momentum on a 13-0 run down to only a couple minutes until halftime. K-State was held without a field goal for 9:17 of the opening half, and was held to only six first-half field goals, four of which were threes. The Mountaineers shot 50 percent (14-28) to open the game, leading 34-19 at halftime.
“We got off to a slow start and then got moving," said West Virginia coach Mike Carey. "The people coming off the bench came off with energy and played pretty well. Christal Caldwell stepped up today, and Averee Fields did in the beginning until she got into foul trouble. We’re just glad to get a win.”
WVU continued to defend in the closing half, limiting K-State to only seven field goals, including a 10-minute drought without a field goal. The Mountaineers shot 43.6 percent (24-55) for the game, while holding the Wildcats to only 27.1 percent (13-48).
WVU has limited five of its last six opponents to 62 points or less, and has held 18 total opponents under 60 points this season. Caldwell led WVU’s scoring for the sixth time this season with 21 points, her third 20-point outing this season. Behind Caldwell, junior Averee Fields, and seniors Asya Bussie and Taylor Palmer each chipped in 10 points. All 10 of Fields’ points came in the opening half.
WVU outrebounded K-State 42-28, led by Palmer’s seven rebounds. Bussie had six rebounds, while junior forward Crystal Leary and Caldwell each had five boards. The Mountaineers forced 15 K-State turnovers, earning 17 points off the giveaways.
K-State was led in scoring by Ashlynn Knoll with 13 points, including a pair of threes. Kindred Wesemann recorded 11 points, also with a pair of threes, and Leticia Romero, who averaged 14.2 points per game heading into tonight, was held to only eight points.
The Mountaineers return home for a midweek matchup with Texas Tech at 7 p.m., on Feb. 26, at the WVU Coliseum. The last time WVU and Texas Tech met, WVU defeated the Lady Raiders, 70-51, in Lubbock, Texas.