MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia University women's basketball team is set to open tonight at 6:30 p.m., as it plays host to Youngstown State at the WVU Coliseum.
Entering its 39th season of women's basketball and 11th season under the direction of coach Mike Carey, WVU returns only one starter and one senior from last year's team that went 24-10 and made its fifth trip in eight seasons to the NCAA tournament.
The Mountaineers lost just over 65 percent of their total scoring last season in five graduating seniors. WVU returns six players in senior Natalie Burton, junior Asya Bussie, redshirt-junior Ayana Dunning and sophomores Taylor Palmer, Brooke Hampton and Jess Harlee.
Also adding to this season's lineup is redshirt-sophomore Christal Caldwell who was forced to sit out last season after transferring from Florida. New faces on this year's roster are freshmen Akilah Bethel, Averee Fields, Crystal Leary and Linda Stepney.
The Mountaineers boast a 29-9 record all-time in home openers at the WVU Coliseum, having won 12-straight home openers, including 10-straight under Carey.
In last season's home opener, the Mountaineers defeated Loyola-Maryland 80-49 in front of the fifth-largest crowd in program history, with 6,299 fans in attendance.
WVU Game Time
- ?Youngstown State vs. WVU women today at 6:30 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.
The series with Youngstown State, which began with a WVU victory in 1977, is tied at 8-8. The last time the teams met was in 1998 when Youngstown State took a 96-86 victory in Youngstown, Ohio.
Bob Boldon is in his second year at the helm of the Penguin program, which returns four of five starters from last season's squad that went 6-24 and 4-14 in the Horizon League. Among the returners is junior forward Brandi Brown who was named the league's preseason player of the year.
Brown averaged 19.9 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game last season as one of only 10 players in the country to rank in the top 50 nationally in scoring and rebounding.