Mountaineers Face Syracuse in BIG EAST Opener

The West Virginia women?s basketball team will open BIG EAST play at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7 at Syracuse.

It will be the 22nd meeting between the teams as WVU leads the all-time series 12-9. The Mountaineers (5-2) won the last outing with the Orange (6-2), however hold a 1-2 all-time record in the Carrier Dome.

The Carrier Dome is a difficult place to play as Syracuse has a home record of 58-25 in the dome since the 2006-07 season. The Orange were nearly undefeated in the dome last year as it went 20-2 at home and have yet to lose a game this season at home as they are 4-0.

The Orange were predicted to finish just ahead of West Virginia in the
BIG EAST Preseason Coaches? Poll as they were chosen at No. 8. Syracuse rattled off six-straight wins to open this season and just recently dropped a pair of games to Arizona and BYU at the Hukilau Invitational in Laie, Hawaii.

As a team, Syracuse averages 76.9 points per game, the fourth-highest scoring average in the BIG EAST. As far as rebounding goes, Syracuse sits just ahead of WVU in rebounding offense, averaging 53.0 a game, to lead the league. The Orange lead the league in out-rebounding its opponents as it holds a positive 17.2 rebounding margin with 424 boards to opponents? 286.

Junior center Kayla Alexander was named a preseason all-BIG EAST
selection and currently leads the team as she averages 20.0 points per game, which is the third-highest average in the league, just above WVU?s Taylor Palmer. Alexander also leads the Orange on the boards as she averages 8.9 rebounds per game, the fourth-best average in the BIG EAST.

Behind Alexander, three others average scoring figures in double digits with Iasia Hemingway averaging 14.3 ppg, Carmen Tyson-Thomas averaging 11.0 ppg and Elashier Hall rounding out the top four scorers with 10.0 ppg.

West Virginia has been successful in holding all opponents under 60
points this season and the Mountaineers? scoring defense has limited opponents to 46.3 points per game, the second-best average nationally.

Part of the defensive limitation is holding opponents to only 30.2
percent shooting, which is the second-best defensive field goal
percentage in the league and fourth-best average nationally.

Palmer leads the Mountaineers in scoring as she averages 18.3 points per game and leads the league in 3-pointers made, averaging 3.6 per game. Her 3-pointers made per game average also ranks as the fourth-highest average nationally.

Behind Palmer, Asya Bussie and Christal Caldwell round out WVU?s top three scorers with 11.7 ppg and 7.6 ppg, respectively. Bussie enters Wednesday?s game off a double-double performance against Boston on Saturday and currently holds the second-best rebounding average with 7.3 rebounds per game. Fellow junior Ayana Dunning guides the Mountaineers in rebounding as she averages 7.7 boards per game.

Wednesday?s contest will air live on MSN Radio with Travis Jones on the call and live stats will be provided by

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