Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Bria Holmes netted five 3-pointers and Asya Bussie took control during a 13-0 second-half run as West Virginia won its fourth straight game Sunday, defeating Virginia 68-58 at the WVU Coliseum.
West Virginia (4-1) led 49-48 with 12:19 left but scored the next 13 points, seven of them by Bussie. Taylor Palmer’s three pushed WVU to its largest lead of the game, 62-48.
Sarah Imovbioh and Kelsey Wolfe of Virginia (3-2) combined for six straight points, but a pair of Brooke Hampton free throws, followed by a Holmes 3-pointer stretched the Mountaineers’ lead back to double digits for good.
“It was a hard-fought game, but West Virginia really took it at us,” Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle said. “We made a big run to (almost) tie it back up, but they made a big run and ran away with it.”
West Virginia head coach Mike Carey said Bussie “was the difference in the game.”
“We got the ball into Asya and she was really able to help us down the stretch,” he said. “Crystal Leary came in and did a great job for us, too —12 rebounds, and we needed her energy off the bench. Bria Holmes hit some big shots, Taylor hit a big shot in the second half for us too.”
Holmes contributed 19 points. Bussie had 14 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season, and Palmer added 10 points.
The Cavaliers made 10 of 22 3-point tries. Ataira Franklin was 6 for 7 beyond the arc and finished with a game-high 23 points, a team-high eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Lexie Gerson contributed 10 points, seven boards and three assists.
Franklin scored 11 points in the first half, including a layup with three seconds left to narrow the Cavaliers’ deficit to 38-31 at the break.
The Mountaineers capitalized at the free throw line, making 53.6 percent (15 for 28), while Virginia was 6 for 16.
Virginia next faces Tennessee at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day in the opening game of the Junkanoo Jam Tournament on Grand Bahama Island. West Virginia plays at Youngstown State on Saturday.