West Virginia stifles Marshall in lopsided win

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia coach Mike Carey got the effort he wanted from the nation's top defense and offered no apologies for holding injury-depleted Marshall to the fewest points in school history.

No. 9 West Virginia held Marshall to five field goals and beat the Thundering Herd 78-21 Wednesday night.

The previous low output for Marshall came in a 46-28 loss to Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 20, 1973. It also marked the Thundering Herd's worst defeat to their northern neighbor. The previous was 81-39 in 1990.

The Mountaineers (18-1) earned their sixth straight win against their cross-state rival and improved to 34-16 overall against Marshall (5-12).

"We came out and did what we had to do," Carey said. "I think once they got in foul trouble ... they couldn't be as aggressive."

West Virginia, which has allowed just 48 points per game, lived up to its billing as the nation's top scoring defense. Marshall shot just 11 percent (5 of 45) from the floor.

Marshall dressed just eight players due to injuries. Among those on the bench were starting guards Rashedah Henriques and Lateidra Elliott.

Even a full roster may not have helped the Thundering Herd.

"They're the best team we've played the last two years," Marshall coach Royce Chadwick said. "They could be cutting down the nets in Indianapolis at the end of the year."

West Virginia still has to get through a rugged Big East schedule. The Mountaineers, who've won two straight since losing at Marquette last week, return to league play on Saturday at home against South Florida before entering a tough stretch next week at Georgetown (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) and DePaul (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP). There's also a Feb. 8 home showdown looming with No. 2 Connecticut.

Ayana Dunning scored 16 points and freshman Taylor Palmer added 14 for West Virginia, which had all 12 players score.

West Virginia had a 50-35 rebounding advantage and forced 28 turnovers.

"Because we're deeper and we're going to play aggressively for 40 minutes, it really hurt them," Carey said.

Madina Ali, coming off a career-high 32 points Saturday against Syracuse, sat out nearly the entire second half as her teammates did the work in their final nonconference game. Ali finished with eight points in 11 minutes.

West Virginia's defense made Marshall work for every shot. Early on, the Thundering Herd spent most of their time passing around the perimeter and hit the rim on rare occasions before getting their first basket five minutes into the game.

The Mountaineers jumped ahead 10-0, made five of their first six 3-point tries and cruised into halftime with a 41-11 lead, marking the second straight year that West Virginia held Marshall under 15 points in the first half.

"We got out to a fast start and that was a plus for us because we had been getting off to slow starts recently," Dunning said. "We knew they had a couple players injured but we came out to play hard regardless of what the other team did."

Marshall went more than 14 minutes between baskets spanning both halves. West Virginia poured it on with a 23-2 run in the second half.

"Any loss like this is very hard to swallow," Chadwick said. "I asked in the locker room, 'Who really felt like they rose to the occasion tonight?' And none of us felt like we did."