HONOLULU, Hawaii — Taylor Palmer scored 17 points off the bench and West Virginia’s defense suffocated Ole Miss for an 86-56 women’s basketball victory in the opener of the Rainbow Wahine Classic on Friday night.
Christal Caldwell and Bria Holmes added 16 points each for the Mountaineers (1-1), who sprinted to a 45-21 halftime lead and led by as many as 36.
“I thought we came out and played hard,” coach Mike Carey said. “I was happy to see 18 assists—that was big for us. It meant we moved the ball pretty well. We had a lot of points off the bench, with 29 points, and I think that’s big for us; I think we can do that every time.”
WVU shot 47.6 percent (30-63) from the field, including 8-of-21 on 3s.
The Mountaineers return to the Stan Sheriff Center for a 5 p.m. matchup Saturday against Washington State.
Ole Miss shot 27 percent for the game after making only 16 percent in the first half. The Rebels were 0-for-13 from 3-point range at intermission and finished 3-of-27 from deep.
Asya Bussie had 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds for WVU, which enjoyed a 52-43 edge in rebounding.
“The biggest thing is we hit a couple shots,” Carey explained. “And any time you can hit eight 8s that stretches the zone out a little bit.”
Junior guard Linda Stepney added seven points, including 4-of-4 from the free-throw line. Averee Fields chipped in six points and pulled down six rebounds, while dishing out four assists. Brooke Hampton recorded six assists, and redshirt freshman Lanay Montgomery pulled down seven rebounds and recorded three blocked shots in 12 minutes.
Ole Miss was led in scoring by Valencia McFarland with 12 points.