MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Christal Caldwell scored 21 points and Ayana Dunning recorded a double-double to lead No. 17 West Virginia to a 76-47 rout of UNC Wilmington Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Dunning scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Mountaineers, who won their 13th straight home opener. West Virginia, in its first season in the Big 12 Conference, got 13 points from Taylor Palmer in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.Jovana Mandic scored 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting to lead the Seahawks. UNC Wilmington, which opened the season against a nationally-ranked opponent for the first time in the program's history, fell to 0-26 all-time against ranked opponents.West Virginia never trailed, opening on a 16-6 run. The Mountaineers led by double digits by halftime but had their lead cut to seven. Akilah Bethel's layup with 14:00 left reopened the lead to 10.West Virginia has now won 13 straight home openers at the Coliseum, including their last 12 under head coach Mike Carey.Jovana Mandic scored 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting to lead UNC Wilmington (0-1), who opened the season against a nationally ranked opponent for the first time in the program's history. The Seahawks fell to 0-26 against ranked opponents, including 0-4 against members of the Big 12.UNC Wilmington hit just 3 of 20 from three-point range, and shot 28 percent from the field overall. West Virginia shot 40 percent from the floor and made 8 of its 26 three-point attempts.The Mountaineers also controlled the boards, grabbing 13 more rebounds than the Seahawks.Neither team protected the ball particularly well, the teams combining for 37 turnovers.West Virginia improved to 69-4 at home against non-conference opponents since 2000. The Mountaineers were able to do so without senior center Asya Bussie, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the team's second practice of the season.