WVU women run away from Cincinnati
HARTFORD, Conn. — Led by an outstanding performance by senior point guard Sarah Miles, the West Virginia women's basketball team came away with a 66-41 win over Cincinnati on Friday night in the first round of the Big East Conference Tournament.
The San Antonio native finished with eight points and 10 assists, eight of which came in the first half when the Mountaineers were able to jump out to a 37-23 lead.
"She's starting to get back into her timing and all of that," West Virginia coach Mike Carey said of his point guard. "A lot of people don't realize she was hurt most of the season, and she's just now getting her timing back."
West Virginia moves on to the second round where it will face St. John's at 6 p.m. today.
Asya Bussie led the way for West Virginia. The sophomore center scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Repella was the only other Mountaineer to reach double figures, scoring 15 points.
Bjonee Reaves was the lone Bearcat in double figures, scoring 11 points to go with five rebounds and three assists.
WVU was able to take a 20-10 lead within the first seven minutes of the game, but after five minutes without converting a field goal, Cincinnati was able to cut the deficit to five before a Liz Repella three-pointer from the wing ended the drought.
That propelled the Mountaineers to a 10-4 run to end the half and allowed them to take full control of the game.
At the end of the half, WVU was back to playing the way it did at the beginning of the year, when it started 16-0 and not the team that lost seven of its last 10 regular-season games.
"It's good to see us playing again," Carey said. "Our girls are having fun again."
In the second half, it was the defense that dictated the game.
Cincinnati missed its first five shots — all from beyond the arc — to start the half and didn't score until Tiffany Turner made a runner in the lane with 13:21 to go in the game.
"We knew they were going to back door," Carey said. "I thought Asya (Bussie) did a good job clogging up the paint. That was our game plan coming in."
And they executed that game plan very well, especially in that final 20 minutes.
Of the 18 shots that Cincinnati attempted in the second half, they were just 2 for 5 on field goals inside of the 3-point line.