Senior Christal Caldwell scored 26 points, and No. 2 seed West Virginia (30-4) sets a record for wins in a season in a 76-61 win over No. 15 seed Albany (28-5) in the first round of the 2014 NCAA women’s basketball tournament Sunday.
Sophomore Bria Holmes also scored 20 points and junior Averee Fields added 10 points, as the only other players for the Mountaineers to reach a double digit point performances in the win against the Great Danes.
While only scoring just three points in the win, Asya Bussie pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds to ensure her senior year gets extended at least by one more game in the NCAA tournament.
West Virginia jumped out to a 33-11 lead off a 16-2 run in the middle of the first half after foul trouble forced Albany’s two best players, Shereesha Richards and Megan Craig, to the bench.
Craig bounced back to lead the team with 23 points in the loss, but the aforementioned foul trouble limited America East Player of the Year, Richards, to just nine points in the game.
The Great Danes made it interesting by bringing the score with eight points in the closing moments, but couldn’t complete the comeback in the program’s third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.
West Virginia advances into the second round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament for the sixth time in the past seven seasons after being sent home in the first round in last year’s tournament.
LSU, the Mountaineers’ second round opponent, made quick work of No. 10 Georgia Tech in their first round matchup, leading throughout the game in route a 98-78 win.
The Lady Tigers (20-12, 7-9 SEC) were led by Danielle Ballard’s 24 points and 17 rebounds, along with 21 points and 11 rebounds from Theresa Plaisance.
DeShawn Harden also chipped in with 17 points, while Shanece McKinney added 14 and 11 from Jeanne Kenney.
West Virginia has never won a game against LSU in four all-time meetings, the most recent of those being a November 2012 loss to the Lady Tigers in the FIU Thanksgiving Classic tournament in Miami.
With this sub-regional being held in Baton Rouge, LSU will also have a home court advantage over the Mountaineers in their second round matchup at 9:30 PM on Tuesday.
This is nothing new for the Mountaineers as the team has played true road games against Delaware and Baylor in two of the past three appearances in the NCAA tournament.
The winner of LSU-West Virginia will move on to face the winner of the Iowa City sub-regional on March 30 in Louisville.
You can follow Chris at @_CBH_ as well as WVU Pros at @WVUPros on Twitter.