AUSTIN, Texas -- Most of the arena was empty, but sitting near the West Virginia bench were about two dozen fans decked in gold and blue.
They had driven about 75 miles up from San Antonio Sunday night to see Sarah Miles, West Virginia's dynamic point guard, lead the Mountaineers in the NCAA tournament.It was the first time her mom and grandmother got to watch her play in person and she put on a show.Miles had an impressive night with 11 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals as the No. 3 seed Mountaineers bolted to a big lead and cruised to a 58-43 win over No. 14-seed Lamar in first round of the Memphis Regional."I tried to keep [the family] separate from the game," Miles said. "[But] it was exciting to have them here. It was a big moment."Liz Repella chipped in 15 points and 11 rebounds for West Virginia (29-5), which dominated the rebounding 48-28 and pushed around much smaller Lamar the entire game. Lamar (26-8) started three players under 6-feet in its first NCAA tournament game since 1991.The Mountaineers advanced to the second round Tuesday night against No. 11 seed San Diego State (22-10), which beat No. 6 Texas 74-63..Defensively, West Virginia held Lamar's 5-2 point guard Jenna Plumley, an Oklahoma transfer and Southland Conference player of the year, to nine points on 3 of 11 shooting before she fouled out. Plumley had made 6 3-pointers for the Sooners in a tournament game on the same court in 2007.West Virginia never trailed and raced to a 19-3 lead that all but settled the game early. If not for some sloppy play by Miles' teammates -- 23 total turnovers and 38 percent shooting -- the Mountaineers could have really poured it on.West Virginia forced 21 Lamar turnovers and outscored the Lady Cardinals in the paint 34-14.Kalis Loyd scored 15 points for Lamar, but the Lady Cardinals needed Plumley to get their offense going. Plumley was 1 of 5 in the first half with five turnovers."I was trying to make something happen instead of letting it come to me," Plumley said. "I needed to slow down. We came here and wanted to pull an upset and we didn't."West Virginia let Lamar back in the game with its own turnovers. Several in the first half keyed a run that pulled the Lady Cardinals within 30-21 before Repella swished a 3-pointer with 7 seconds left.West Virginia's shooting struggles continued in the second, but the Mountaineers just kept gobbling up the missed shots for second chances.West Virginia never let up defensively. When Vanessa House stole a pass from Plumley, she quickly pushed the ball to Miles to finish the fast break for a 48-30 lead with 7:16 to play."There were times we could have blown the game open but they kept fighting," West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. "We can't turn the ball over the way we did."
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 21: Kim English #24 of the Missouri Tigers reacts after a call while playing against the West...