CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Prior to the Capital Classic, West Virginia had ridden its stingy defense and balanced scoring to a solid 7-1 record. Saturday, that train kept chugging along.
The Mountaineers limited Marshall to just 30.4 percent shooting and held the Herd without an assist until well into the second half, while six Mountaineers scored eight points or more in an 82-51 win in front of a crowd of 1,565 at the Charleston Civic Center.
West Virginia used a 30-5 run that spanned much of the first half to break an 8-8 tie, continued that momentum in building a 44-22 lead at halftime, and cruised to the win.
"The first eight minutes, we came out and played extremely hard defensively," West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. "That's what we do, we play hard defensively and then we get our offense going."
Against Marshall, WVU's offense seemed to be rolling from the outset as Taylor Palmer and Christal Caldwell knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to open the game. Palmer went on to hit 4 3-pointers as part of a 10-for-20 team effort.
Then there was 6-foot-4 Asya Bussie on the inside, who redirected Marshall drives and shots all game long while finding open shooters and doing scoring damage of her own. She finished with 16 points to go with five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals in earning the game's MVP honors.
"It's great," Bussie said. "Even just getting the ball and doing something with it ... I've been struggling the last couple games, so it was a great feeling."
To speak to the balance of the Mountaineers (8-1), Palmer and Bria Holmes, who had missed the previous two games with a concussion, also each had 16 points to lead all scorers.
WVU's long, athletic guards, along with Bussie on the inside, held down the Herd's leading scorer, Leah Scott, who had just five points and was scoreless in the first half.
The Herd (3-5) was hurt even worse by the absence of starting center Chukwuka Ezeigbo, who was in Nigeria for the funeral of her father. Without their center, Marshall was outrebounded 53-27 and WVU won the second-chance-points battle 15-4.