MELBOURNE, Fla. – All five starters scored in double figures as the No. 11/13 West Virginia women’s basketball team pulled out a 75-68 win over Butler in the first game of the Paradise Jam tournament at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne, Florida, on Thursday.
For the fourth straight game, senior forward Teana Muldrow led the team in scoring with 18 points, chipping in seven rebounds as well. Junior guard/forward Naomi Davenport registered her third double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing a season-high 15 rebounds while junior guard Chania Ray sunk a trio of 3-pointers on her way to 16 points. After nearly recording a triple-double on Sunday, Ray was two assists shy of a double-double with eight and led the team with a trio of steals as well.
Senior forward Kristina King went 5-of-7 for 10 points and had a pair of blocks, while junior guard Katrina Pardee made a pair of shots from downtown, finishing with 10 points and six rebounds.
The Mountaineers (4-0) shot 50.9 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from downtown. They came away with a 35-28 advantage over the Bulldogs (3-2) on the glass and made 13 of 18 free throws. WVU scored 32 in the paint and added six points on fast breaks.
Back-to-back treys from Davenport and Pardee spurred a 10-0 run to start the game. The Mountaineers totaled a trio of 3-pointers in taking a 16-7 lead in the first quarter, limiting the Bulldogs to just a pair of field goals and a trip to the free-throw line.
The Bulldogs came storming back in the second as they scored 10 straight to take a 23-21 lead on a layup. Muldrow scored four points in the paint, followed by a 3-pointer from Pardee as WVU claimed the momentum for a 28-23 advantage with 2:32 to play in the half. Davenport added a late layup, finishing the first half with a double-double at 10 points and 11 rebounds as West Virginia took a 32-27 advantage into halftime.
Freshman guard Ashley Jones hit the charity stripe early in the third quarter, sinking both to give WVU a seven-point advantage at 36-29. Pardee added a pair of layups, but a pair of 3-pointers from the Bulldogs cut the Mountaineer lead to four at 40-36.
Butler sunk another three, followed by a jumper to cut WVU’s advantage to one before sinking the fourth 3-point shot of the quarter for a 48-46 lead. Davenport scored two in the paint to tie things up, then added a jumper to put the Mountaineers on top again at 50-48 with just over two minutes remaining. A fast-break layup from King gave WVU a four-point lead heading into the fourth quarter at 52-48.
Ray picked up a pair at the charity stripe early in the fourth to stretch the WVU lead to 54-48 in the first 30 seconds of action. The Bulldogs headed to the line at the other end and followed the trip with a pair of treys to tie the game at 56-56 with 7:31 to play.
Ray countered with a pair of treys herself, putting the Mountaineers back on top by a score of 62-57. However, the Bulldogs whittled the lead down to one then tied the team for the fifth time overall on a free-throw. Two more at the charity stripe put the Bulldogs ahead 64-62 with 3:51 to go.
King tied the score on a layup before Muldrow sunk a 3-point shot for a 68-66 lead. Ray added another to provide some padding at 71-66. The Bulldogs came up with a steal but fumbled on the fast break, turning the ball over without getting a shot off. Muldrow closed things out at the free-throw line, going 4-for-4 as the Mountaineers claimed the 75-68 win.
West Virginia returns to Titan Field House on Friday to face Drexel. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
Notes: At least one Mountaineer has had a double-double each game this season … Naomi Davenport recorded her third double-double of the season with 16 points and 15 rebounds … Thursday marked the program’s first-ever win over Butler … WVU moved to 128-100 all-time in neutral-site contests … Teana Muldrow led the team in scoring for the fourth time this season and the 19th time in her career … it was her 61st career game scoring in double figures … additionally, it was Muldrow’s 50th consecutive game with a made field goal and her 77th game with a rebound … Chania Ray made a field goal for the 33rd straight game and picked up a rebound for the 40th straight contest.
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