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WVU pulls away from Winthrop in “Education Day” game at the Coliseum

(Photo gallery courtesy of Ben Queen/

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After a slow start with a very early wake-up call, the WVU women’s basketball team defeated Winthrop 70-48 Thursday morning.

A crowd of 6,640 at the Coliseum filed in for the 10 a.m. tipoff. An estimated 5,000 students were part of the “Education Day” event.

“It is so much fun playing in front of kids that look up to you,” said WVU junior forward Kylee Blacksten. “It is just incredible and I’m so thankful to have them come out and have this day.”

“It is very exciting,” said WVU senior guard Jayla Hemingway. “It is loud and it is a really fun environment to play in. It is always one of my favorite games of the season.”

“To see our girls be excited about the young kids here was really a great thing. Every kid that was here knew the words to ‘Country Roads’. So that was a lot of fun,” said WVU head coach Dawn Plitzuweit.

West Virginia (2-0) struggled to create distance from the Eagles (0-4) in the opening minutes. WVU led 16-12 after the first quarter. A 19-2 run between the first and second quarters allowed WVU to build a 30-19 halftime lead.

“We didn’t start off very well. We had some good moments in the game and there were some moments we didn’t. It is still early for us. We’ve got a lot to learn and get better at. We have a good opportunity Sunday to get back at it again.”

Fifth year guard Madisen Smith led the Mountaineers with 15 points. She connected on three triples in the third quarter.

“She is someone who really has a scorer’s mentality. That’s a great asset for us. Understanding what good opportunities are is really important and what that looks like. I think that is something we are all kind of working through at this time,” Plitzuweit said.

Jayla Hemingway added a dozen points for West Virginia. The Mountaineers will host Appalachian State Sunday afternoon in their final game before hitting the road to Cancun, Mexico for a pair of games over Thanksgiving week.

Ten Mountaineers found the scoresheet and seven players scored at least six points.

“I think that we can improve in almost every area. I think we are just going to keep climbing. Under Coach P’s coaching, she is always just wanting us to do better and better and better each time,” Blacksten said.

(Dawn Plitzuweit postgame press conference) 

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