West Virginia women play well enough to down Syracuse

March 3, 2012 3:32 pm

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HARTFORD, Conn--No. 5 seed West Virginia didn???t play particularly well this afternoon but the Mountaineers still did what they had to do to advance as they beat No. 12 seed Syracuse, 63-48, in a Big East Women???s Tournament second round game at the XL Center.

The Mountaineers(22-8)will play No. 4 seed Georgetown(22-7)Sunday at noon in a quarterfinal. The Hoyas beat the Mountaineers,64-54,when the two teams met at West Virginia Jan. 24.

In today???s game, the Mountaineers grabbed an early lead and controlled the game with their defense, but they couldn???t separate themselves from the Orange in the first half because they missed too many layups and at one point missed four free throws in a row.

"It was a very physical game," said West Virginia forward Ayana Dunning. "But I look forward to these physical games. I thought in the first half we missed a lot of lay-ups and even free throws but the lay-ups, we were looking to draw fouls and the contact instead of focusing on the backboard and the rim."

West Virginia coach Mike Carey added, "Overall I was p leased, but we had some lulls offensively and we should have been up a lot more in the first half because we missed some easy shots but we kept playing hard defensively and I told them if we keep playing hard, keep defending, keep rebounding ??? eventually those shots will go in and they did."

West Virginia was led by Asya Bussie, who scored 13 points and five rebounds, but Dunning???s size and strength on the interior was a key for the Mountaineers as she was able to help control the paint against the Orange???s big, physical front court.

Dunning finished with nine points and seven rebounds and she also blocked two shots and her work under the basket enabled the Mountaineers to win the rebounding battle, 43-42.

Syracuse (18-14), which was led by Elashier Hall with 11 points, will not likely receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament but will almost definitely get invited into the WNIT.

Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com or Twitter: @paulzeise
First Published 2012-03-03 14:34:06

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