MORGANTOWN-After needing an overtime period to overcome a pesky Texas squad, Mike Carey's West Virginia University women's basketball team (14-2, 3-1 Big 12) will take to the road to face a No. 13 Iowa State (14-1, 3-1 Big 12) squad looking to remain in the upper echelon in the Big 12 Conference at 8 p.m. today.
The two teams split a year ago with WVU taking a 68-66 victory at then-No. 24 ISU at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, while the Cyclones came back to capture a 53-49 decision in Morgantown in late January.
Carey, who is 258-143 in 13 seasons with the old gold and blue, will likely go with a starting lineup that includes senior Christal Caldwell, junior Linda Stepney and sophomore Bria Holmes at the guard slots, junior Averee Fields at forward and senior Asya Bussie at center.
Bussie, who missed the entire 2012-13 season, leads the Mountaineers in both scoring (13.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.8) while Holmes chips in 13.6 points and 1.9 assists per game.
Two other players average double digits as well. Caldwell is scoring at an 11.8 norm while senior Taylor Palmer comes off of the bench and averages 11.9 points per game. Others to watch include seniors Brooke Hampton (4.3 ppg) and Jess Harlee (3.2), junior Crystal Leary (4.7) and freshmen Lanay Montgomery (2.4) and Lubirdia Gordon (3.9).
Iowa State, which averages 79.1 points per game while limiting its opposition to 57.7 points, will counter with senior forward Hallie Christofferson (21.0), freshman guard Seanna Johnson, junior guard Nikki Moody (11.5 ppg), freshman guard Jadda Buckley (11.1) and junior guard/forward Brynn Williamson (9.2). Also look for sophomore guard Nicole Blaskowsky (9.4) to see plenty of floor time.
WVU is coming off of a 56-49 overtime win over Texas at the Coliseum on Sunday. Caldwell and Fields led the Mountaineers to their third conference victory with 12 points apiece. Palmer, like she has so many times this season, came off of the bench to chip in 10 points.
ISU's only loss this season was to an Oklahoma State team that the Mountaineers defeated by a 71-67 margin on the road on Jan. 4.