Taylor Palmer comes off bench to lead West Virginia's rout

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia coach Mike Carey was pleased to see players other than stars Madina Ali and Liz Repella take over a game.

Freshman Taylor Palmer scored 22 points off the bench to lead the No. 10 Mountaineers to an 89-57 win over High Point on Saturday night.

The Mountaineers (8-0) were playing their fifth game in 10 days, including the three-day Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands, so Carey let his team split the scoring responsibilities.

West Virginia took an early lead and was never threatened while winning its 24th straight at home. The Mountaineers also improved to 57-3 against nonconference opponents in Morgantown.

The home-court advantage will come to and end soon. West Virginia plays three of its next five games on the road, starting next Thursday with the Big East opener at Villanova.

"We were a little tired," Carey said. "But we did what we had to do to get the win. I told the girls after the game that our Big East opener was coming up against Villanova, so that's the most important game of the year."

Asya Bussie and freshman Brooke Hampton added 14 points apiece for the Mountaineers (8-0), and Ali had 13 points. Palmer and Hampton combined for 10 3-pointers as the team set a season high for points -- despite only six from Repella, West Virginia's second-leading scorer.

Hampton, making her fourth start in place of the injured Sarah Miles, had six assists and took care of the ball again with no turnovers. She has just three in eight games.

Palmer's previous scoring high was nine points three times.

"That's what she is, she's a shooter," Carey said. "We knew that in recruiting her that she could shoot the ball. We felt that we needed another shooter on the wing to shoot when people pack it in. That's her role: set and shoot."

Palmer said she's just trying to fit in, and so far, it's working. She made seven of 12 shots in 26 minutes.

"I just try to do what I can for the team," Palmer said. "Me shooting takes the pressure off of Liz. She was in a box and one [defense] today, so when I came in and hit a couple of shots it relieves everybody else. That's what I'm trying to do now is perfecting my role on the team."

West Virginia held a 50-27 rebounding advantage with Korinne Campbell leading the way with 11. Four others had at least six apiece. The Mountaineers raced to a 45-23 halftime lead, before both teams shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half.

Erin Reynolds scored 20 points for High Point (4-5).