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WVU women whip Albany, advance to second round

| Sunday, March 23, 2014, 6:42 p.m.
West Virginia guard Christal Caldwell (1) dribbles past Albany guard Cassandra Edwards (34) in the first half of a Women's NCAA Tournament first-round game Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.
West Virginia forward Averee Fields (5) looks for an open teammate after pulling down a rebound past the defense of Albany forward Shereesha Richards (25) in the first half of a Women's NCAA Tournament first-round game Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.
West Virginia center Asya Bussie (20) is double-teamed by Albany center Megan Craig (left) and guard Sarah Royals (4) in the second half of a Women's NCAA Tournament first-round game Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.
Albany guard Tammy Phillip (14) hauls down a rebound in front of West Virginia forward Jess Harlee in the first half of a Women's NCAA Tournament first-round game Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.
West Virginia's Averee Fields (top) shoots over Albany's Margarita Rosario in the second half of a Women's NCAA Tournament first-round game Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.
West Virginia guard Taylor Palmer (2) goes airborne after being fouled by Albany center Megan Craig (32) in the second half of a Women's NCAA Tournament first-round game Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.
West Virginia center Asya Bussie (20) tries to lean into Albany center Megan Craig (32) in the second half of a Women's NCAA Tournament first-round game Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.
Albany forward Shereesha Richards (25) attempts to shoot over West Virginia forward Crystal Leary (32) in the first half of a Women's NCAA Tournament first-round game Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.
Albany center Megan Craig (32) attempts a shot at the basket while West Virginia center Asya Bussie (20) defends in the first half of a Women's NCAA Tournament first-round game Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.
West Virginia center Asya Bussie (20) attempts to shoot over Albany's Megan Craig defends in the second half of a first-round NCAA Tournament game Sunday, March 23, 2014, in Baton Rouge, La.

BATON ROUGE, La. — West Virginia's backcourt duo of Christal Caldwell and Bria Holmes left coach Mike Carey confident about the Mountaineers chances of making program history in the NCAA women's tournament.

Caldwell scored 26 points, Holmes added 20, and second-seeded West Virginia defeated Albany, 76-61, in the opening round Sunday, setting up a second-round matchup Tuesday night with host LSU, the No. 7 seed.

Averee Fields added 10 points for West Virginia (30-4), now one victory from its first ever appearance in the Sweet 16.

“We attacked the basket and did what we are supposed to do,” Carey said. “We passed the ball extremely well.”

Megan Craig led the 15th-seeded Great Danes (28-5) with 23 points. But the 6-foot-9 center was hampered by two quick fouls that limiter her playing time in the first half.

When Craig went to the bench, the Mountaineers went on a 16-2 run to take a 33-11 lead.

“It was more of our defense that was the biggest reason we went on our run like we did,” Holmes said. “It got things going with us offensively and allowed us to score a lot of points quickly when their girl (Craig) went out of the game.”

Indeed, West Virginia's defense held Albany scoreless for nearly six minutes during the run, and the Great Danes never quite recovered.

West Virginia already has set a school record for victories in a season and has its highest ever seeding in an NCAA tournament. Now the Mountaineers have two days to prepare for a virtual road game against an LSU team coming off a commanding 98-78 triumph over Georgia Tech.

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