for this game

No. 9 West Virginia outlasts Rutgers 55-51

Feb 17, 2010 - 3:34 AM By JOHN RABY AP Sports Writer

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.(AP) -- Sarah Miles' composure kept No. 9 West Virginia's perfect home season intact.

Miles made three free throws in the final 10 seconds to preserve the Mountaineers' 55-51 victory over mistake-prone Rutgers on Tuesday night.

West Virginia saw a 13-point lead melt away in the second half and the Mountaineers survived despite being held without a field goal over the final 7 minutes. West Virginia coach Mike Carey said his team lost its aggressiveness after going ahead by double digits.

"We stood around on defense," he said. "We kind of quit attacking on offense. We were holding the ball a little bit and we don't play well when we do that."

Playing with their highest-ever ranking, West Virginia (23-3, 10-2 Big East) improved to 16-0 at home and can complete its first unbeaten season at The Coliseum in 18 years with a win over Marquette on Feb. 27.

Trailing 52-51, Rutgers' Nikki Speed missed a runner in the lane with 13 seconds left and West Virginia's Asya Bussie blocked Myia McCurdy's putback attempt. Rutgers' Brittany Ray fouled Madina Ali going after the loose ball and West Virginia regained possession.

Miles, the team's fourth-leading scorer, went to the line twice after that and made 3 of 4 free throws. She went 10 of 14 from the line for the game and finished with 16 points.

"I don't mind having the ball at the end of the game," the junior said. "I try not to let pressure get to me. I've been here long enough to know how to handle it."

Miles' leadership showed in her six steals without a turnovers. Carey credited her with getting West Virginia out of jams at times when Rutgers went to the full-court press.

"She's quick with the basketball," Carey said. "A lot of people are quick, but not with the ball."

Korinne Campbell had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Ali added 12 points for West Virginia.

Brittany Ray led the Scarlet Knights (15-11, 7-5) with 16 points and Chelsey Lee had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Ray had six of Rutgers' 24 turnovers, which weren't a season high. The Scarlet Knights committed 29 in a loss to Georgia earlier this season.

Rutgers, which had averaged 11 turnovers in its two previous games, saw its season-high three-game winning streak end and fell to 1-8 against ranked teams this season.

"We missed assignments," Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said. "We were lazy. We did some dumb things. It was a matter of the will being stronger than the skill because this was not one of our better-skilled games."

The Scarlet Knights led 24-21 at halftime, just the fifth time this season West Virginia trailed at the break.

Liz Repella, held to just one shot in the first half, hit 3-pointers to start and finish a 13-0 run that put the Mountaineers ahead 34-24 with 14:41 remaining.

Ray's 3-pointer 27 seconds later broke Rutgers' scoring drought, but Campbell, who had her fourth double-double of the season, made two straight baskets to give the Mountaineers their largest lead, 40-27, with 12:30 left.

West Virginia then went scoreless over a 6-minute stretch to set up Rutgers' comeback.

Lee hit six points during an 11-0 run for Rutgers. Lee's basket pulled the Scarlet Knights within 50-49 with 4:25 remaining, but Rutgers never retook the lead and managed just two points the rest of the game.

"We had the wrong people shooting at the wrong time," Stringer said.

Despite the long stretch without a point, West Virginia made half of its field goal attempts after halftime after shooting just 28 percent (9 of 32) in the first half.