WVU women’s basketball opens NCAA Tournament against Princeton

By Chris Coombs, wvusports.com

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University women’s basketball team (24-7) opens play at the NCAA Tournament when they take on Princeton in the round of 64 on Saturday, March 23. Tipoff inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa is set for 5:30 p.m. ET.
 
The contest against Princeton will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Beth Mowins, Stephanie White, Holly Rowe on the call. The game also can be heard on the Varsity Network app, with Andrew Caridi on the call. Live stats and game notes will be available on WVUsports.com.
 
The matchup marks just the second time the two programs have met. The Mountaineers claimed the first and only meeting in 2016 by a final score of 74-65. The game was also in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  
 
Head coach Mark Kellogg is the second first-year coach in WVU history to guide the Mountaineer women to the NCAA Tournament in their first season. Kellogg will be coaching in the postseason event for the third time in his career.
 
The bid is West Virginia’s 15th overall bid since 1989, and its seventh since joining the Big 12 Conference in 2013. WVU is 11-14 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
 
Kellogg’s 24 wins mark the most in a single season for a first-year head coach at WVU. West Virginia finished with the fourth-best record in the Big 12 regular season at 12-6.
 
The Mountaineers are led in scoring by junior guard JJ Quinerly who averages 19.6 points per game. Her 608 total points and points per game rank 1st and 3rd in the Big 12 conference. Sophomore guard Jordan Harrison ranks second in the conference in assists per game (5.2) and third in total assists (161). Harrison ranks 2nd all-time in program history for assists by a sophomore with 161.
 
Harrison (92) and Quinerly (91) rank 12th and 13th nationally for steals in the NCAA this season. Lauren Fields (74) and Kyah Watson (74) give the Mountaineers the top four steals leaders in the Big 12 Conference. WVU is the only team in the last 10 years with four players in the top 50 in steals in the NCAA.
 
WVU leads the nation in turnover margin (+8.87) and is third in turnovers forced (23.97) and steals (14.0). WVU is second in scoring defense (57.8) and scoring margin (16.9) in the Big 12. Quinerly (30) has scored in double figures in all but one game while Harrison has 27.
 
Princeton comes into the contest winners of five straight and off an Ivy League tournament championship run. This season PU corralled a 25-4 overall record including a 13-2 mark in conference play.
 
The Tigers are led by Kaitlyn Chen, a 5-foot-9 guard, is averaging a team-best 15.8 points per game on 49.1% shooting to go along with a team-leading 145 assists. Madison St. Rose, a 5-foot-10 sophomore guard from Old Bridge, New Jersey, contributes 14.5 points while making a team-best 46 three-pointers.

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