MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Redshirt-sophomore Christal Caldwell scored 16 points and junior Asya Bussie had a double-double as West Virginia beat its second ranked team this week, defeating No. 21 Rutgers 60-50 on Wednesday night.
West Virginia (19-6, 9-3 BIG EAST) beat then-No. 2/2 Notre Dame 65-63 last Sunday. WVU has beaten three straight ranked teams having knocked off then-No. 14/12 Louisville on Feb. 4.
Bussie finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Mountaineers who won the rebounding battle 41-31. It was the only league game on Wednesday’s schedule.
Despite trailing throughout the entire first half, West Virginia rallied to take a 47-45 lead behind an Ayana Dunning three-point play with 5 minutes left to play.
Rutgers (17-7, 6-6 BIG EAST) went back ahead 48-47 behind an April Sykes’ 3-pointer with 4:41 left but West Virginia closed on a 12-3 run to seal the win.
“This was just as important as the Notre Dame game,” WVU head coach Mike Carey said. “Rutgers came down here on a four-game losing streak and was hungry and really punched us in the mouth in the first half. In the second half, we punched back a little bit.
Dunning finished with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting for the Mountaineers who shot just 37 percent (20-of-54) but grabbed 16 offensive rebounds en route to 17 second-chance points.
Rutgers has lost five in a row.
“We just lost composure,” said Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer. “We didn’t really execute and move the ball as well as we needed to. Of course the first thing that happened was that both of our posts were in foul trouble. Both of them ended up fouling out. When that happened, they put a little more pressure on our guards and they tried to do a little bit more than they should have. We just should have stayed composed. We are disappointed with that because we have veteran players.”
BIG EAST play resumes on Saturday with 14 teams in action over seven conference games.
Material from interviews, school websites, the Associated Press wire service as well as league and team sources was used in this report.