MORGANTOWN, West Virginia – No. 17 West Virginia used a 20-0 run midway through the second half to pull away from UNCW and record a 76-47 victory in collegiate women's basketball action Friday at the WVU Coliseum.
In the season opener for both programs, junior Christi Caldwell led three Mountaineer players in double figures with a game-high 21 points while fellow junior Taylor Palmer chipped in 13. Senior Ayana Dunning pitched in 11 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds to record a double-double.
Sophomore Jovana Mandic tallied a career-high 10 points for UNCW, who was held to just 14-of-50 (.280) shooting for the contest. Senior Karneshia Garrett and sophomore Kelva Atkins tallied eight points apiece while junior Brittany Gamby added seven. Junior Jessica Freeman pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
Leading 49-37 with 8:31 remaining in the second half, a layup by freshman Bria Holmes sparked the Mountaineers to the game-changing run that lasted more than five minutes and saw seven different players record a point as West Virginia took its largest lead of the game, 69-37, with 3:15 remaining.
A pair of free throws by Atkins ended the run and started an 8- 2 spurt for the Seahawks that would make it a 71-45 contest with 51 seconds on the clock. The Mountaineers tallied five of the last seven points of the game to determine the final 29-point margin.
In the first half, West Virginia scored the first six points of the game on its way to building an early 16-6 advantage.
The Mountaineers would take their biggest lead of the first half, 29-14, on a three-pointer by Caldwell at the 4:24 mark before a pair of free throws by freshman Dana Brown would spark the Seahawks to score seven of the last nine points of the frame and make it a 31-21 contest at the break.
West Virginia scored five of the first seven points of the second half to take a 36-22 lead, only to see the Seahawks respond with a 9-2 spurt to make it a 38-31 contest.
The Mountaineers regained their 14-point cushion moments later, scoring eight of the next nine points to build a 46-32 cushion with 11:54 remaining. The two sides would trade baskets over the three minutes until Holmes' bucket at the 8:31 mark would start the decisive spurt.
UNCW returns to action Nov. 14 with a 6:30 p.m. contest against state foe Wake Forest. West Virginia is back on the court Monday with a 7 p.m. tip at Boston University.
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