MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia coach Mike Carey, for one, is glad the ninth-ranked Mountaineers have reached a bit of a lull in their schedule.
Playing their fourth game in nine days, the Mountaineers led from the start and had no trouble putting away Prairie View A&M 71-39 on Saturday.West Virginia (10-0) earned the best start in school history, topping the streak of nine straight wins to start a season in 2004-05. The Mountaineers also extended their school-record home winning streak to 25 games.Now they have a week off before hosting St. Francis, Pa., next Saturday."I thought our girls did a great job," Carey said. "I thought we looked tired though, playing all those games in a row. Overall I was pleased. We still have a lot of stuff to work on heading into the Big East."Madina Ali had 20 points and nine rebounds, Liz Repella added 15 points and Korinne Campbell scored 11 for West Virginia, which jumped ahead 37-17 at halftime and held Prairie View to 26 percent shooting (12 of 47) for the game.Ali had been held to four points in a 39-36 win at Villanova on Thursday night. She made 8 of 12 field goals and 4 of 6 free throws against Prairie View."She really needed to bounce back from the Villanova game and get her confidence back and I thought she did that," Carey said.Siarra Soliz scored 13 points and Latia Williams added 12 points and nine rebounds for Prairie View (4-4). The Panthers committed 25 turnovers and saw their two-game winning streak snapped.West Virginia scored 26 points off turnovers and dominated the inside, scoring 38 points and outrebounding Prairie View 41-32.The Mountaineers scored the game's first 10 points. Prairie View managed just three points in the game's first 10 minutes."I thought the first four minutes we set the tone defensively," Carey said. "I want them to be perfect, do it for 40 minutes. But that's hard to do. [Prairie View] had nine offensive rebounds at halftime, so that's something we stressed, and then they only had 11 total."West Virginia started the second half with a 16-7 run to extend its 20-point halftime lead to 53-24 on Jessica Harlee's layup with 12:29 remaining. The Mountaineers led by 34 points down the stretch."Today we had the ability to work on some things that coach wanted us to work on," Ali said. "It's important to be able to score, but if it doesn't come, there are other ways to contribute to the team -- defensively, bringing energy and not putting my head down because I'm not scoring."West Virginia improved to 58-3 against nonconference opponents in Morgantown.