WVU women’s hoops opens season at South Point Thanksgiving Shootout

Gold and Blue Nation

The West Virginia University women’s basketball team travels to Las Vegas, Nevada, from Nov. 27-28 for the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout, hosted by the South Point Hotel & Casino.

The Mountaineers’ first game pits them against Fresno State on Friday, Nov. 27. Opening tip against the Bulldogs is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET. WVU concludes tournament action on Saturday, Nov. 28, against LSU. The Mountaineers and Tigers will tip off at 6:45 p.m. Fans can stream all of Friday and Saturday’s games for $10 each. Live stats and game notes for each game will be available on WVUSports.com.

Fresno State enters this weekend’s tournament after accumulating 25-7 record, including a 16-2 mark in the Mountain West Conference, in 2019-20. The Bulldogs are led by seventh-year head coach Jaime White, who owns a 124-72 record during her time in Fresno. FSU returns all four of its top scorers from a season ago, including guard Haley Cavinder, who led the team with 16.0 points per game. Forward Maddi Utti also returns after leading the Bulldogs in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and steals (2.3 spg) last year. West Virginia is 2-0 all-time against Fresno State. The last meeting between the two teams came on Dec. 20, 2009, when WVU defeated FSU 72-52 at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown. West Virginia and Fresno State have never met at a neutral site.

LSU begins tournament action against BYU on Friday, before matching up with WVU on Saturday. The Tigers posted a record of 20-10 a season ago and went 9-7 in the Southeastern Conference. LSU is led by 10th-year head coach Nikki Fargas, who has accumulated a record of 168-116 during her career with the Tigers. LSU returns two of its top three scorers from a season ago, including guard Khayla Pointer, who led the team with 14.8 points per game in 2019-20. Center Faustine Aifuwa returns as the LSU’s rebounder for this season after averaging 7.9 boards per game a year ago. The Mountaineers are seeking their first win against the Tigers, who leads the all-time series 5-0. The last meeting between the two teams came on March 25, 2014, when LSU knocked off WVU, 76-67, in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at the Maravich Center, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

WVU coach Mike Carey enters his 20th season at the helm for the Mountaineers and is the winningest coach in program history. Carey has accumulated a record of 410-217 (.654) while in Morgantown. During his 32-year coaching career, Carey also has totaled 698 career wins and is two away from 700. Carey returns seven veterans from last year’s team, while adding six newcomers into the mix. Redshirt senior guard Kysre Gondrezick, the Mountaineers’ leading scorer from a season ago, returns to lead West Virginia’s offense alongside fellow senior Blessing Ejiofor. For the second consecutive year, junior forward Kari Niblack and junior guard Madisen Smith will serve as West Virginia’s team captains.

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