West Virginia continues best start in school history with win over CCSU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia coach Mike Carey is tired of his players coming out uninspired against overmatched nonconference opponents.

With the Big East portion of the schedule ahead, he may not have to worry about that anymore.

West Virginia (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) overcame a sluggish first half to beat Central Connecticut State 63-37 on Sunday.

West Virginia now turns to an important stretch of four straight conference games, starting Wednesday at Seton Hall.

"They need to get hungry again and get motivated," Carey said. "Maybe when we start playing some Big East games they will get motivated or else it will be a long season. We have a long way to go."

After leading by just three at halftime, West Virginia (14-0) outscored the Blue Devils 40-17 to extend the best start in school history and improve its school-record home winning streak to 27 games.

The Mountaineers needed a late rally like they got on Thursday night in a 62-53 win at St. Bonaventure. West Virginia trailed 20-15 at halftime against the Bonnies.

Against the Blue Devils, West Virginia went without a field goal over the final 7:29 of the first half. The Mountaineers shot 27 percent from the floor in the half, committed 14 turnovers and led 23-20 at halftime.

The Mountaineers fared much better after that. For the game, West Virginia got 21 steals and scored 31 points off 34 Central Connecticut State turnovers. But the Mountaineers finished with 22 turnovers.

"The slow starts and the ugly wins are better than a pretty loss," said West Virginia center Ayana Dunning. "But it would be nice to get a good win. We need to pick it up.

"I think sometimes we overanalyze the game instead of just getting out there and play. When we think it through too much, it causes us to get turnovers and take unnecessary shots instead of reversing the ball and letting it come to us naturally."

Freshman Brooke Hampton scored 11 points and Dunning and Liz Repella added 10 points each for West Virginia. Repella was the only starter in double figures. West Virginia's bench outscored the Blue Devils 35-12. Leading scorer Madina Ali was limited to 2 points on 0-of-7 shooting from the floor.

"I told the underclassmen they ought to have a meeting with the seniors to wake up," Carey said. "I'm not really happy with that. We better wake up. This is two games in a row that we came out uninspired, did not come out and play hard, didn't move the ball and I'm glad we're starting [the] Big East. We're not playing well and not executing well and we have a lot of work."

Sarah Miles, the returning Big East defensive player of the year, had seven points and a career-high nine steals in her first start since missing seven games with a knee injury.

"It's been a while, but it felt good," Miles said. "It always feels good to be out there with the girls."

West Virginia improved to 60-3 against nonconference opponents in Morgantown.

Kerianne Dugan scored 11 points for Central Connecticut State (7-5).