By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Christal Caldwell continues to lead the West Virginia University women’s basketball team in scoring with just three regular-season games remaining.
The 5-foot-9 junior guard from Charlotte, N.C., has tallied 336 points in 26 games (12.9 per game) and logged 114 rebounds (4.4) in her second season as a Mountaineer lady.
She transferred here after playing a year at Florida, then sat out the 2010-11 season as required by NCAA rules.
“I couldn’t be happier the way things have gone so far,” Caldwell said. “We’ve all worked hard all year and must continue to work hard with the Big 12 Tournament just ahead.”
The WVU women, 66-56 winners at Texas Christian on Saturday, now are 16-10 overall and 8-7 in the conference. It was their second straight road win in Big 12 play.
They resume action tonight at home against Kansas State (13-14, 4-11 Big 12). Tip-off time is 7 p.m.
Caldwell, who was the second-leading scorer last year at 10.8 points per game, was a two-time all-state player while attending West Charlotte High School.
“We have a lot at stake and can’t afford to let up,” she said last week in an interview. “I really like it here with my teammates and love the West Virginia fans.
“I’m just trying to do my best and help my teammates and coaches, who can make me an even better player. We all want to finish the year strong.”
She said she has been a lot closer to her teammates and has enjoyed being with them and her coaches each year she has been in Morgantown.
While happy that she still has one more year of eligibility, Caldwell hopes the team can add more victories to its record in postseason competition.
Coach Mike Carey recalled that WVU started recruiting her in high school and was delighted when she transferred after one year at Florida.
“Christal has been very consistent for us all year,” Carey said. “She has the green light (to shoot the ball) because she can score.
“She’s a hard worker in practice and plays hard in games. She is also a great person outside of basketball.
“So it’s been a pleasure in coaching her and she’s a great lady to be around. I knew she’d be a good player.”
Caldwell, who averages more than 28 minutes of play per game, has scored double digits in 18 games this season. Her season’s high was 24 points against Oklahoma in an 82-63 victory on Feb. 3.
Caldwell’s career highs include 25 points vs. Georgetown (1/24/12), minutes played, 39 (three times, last at USF, 2/1/12), field goals made, 10 (twice, last vs. Oklahoma, 2/3/13), field goals attempted, 26 (vs. Oklahoma, 2/3/13), 3-point field goals made, 5 (at Oklahoma State, 1/29/13), 3-point field goals attempted, 8 (vs. Oklahoma, 2/3/13), free throws made, 11 (vs. Georgetown, 1/24/12) and free throws attempted, 14 (vs. Georgetown,1/24/12).
She has had two double-doubles. One was 20 points and 13 rebounds vs. Elon on Dec. 31, 2011, and the other 17 points and 12 rebounds at Pitt on Jan. 21, 2012.
Caldwell commented, “I couldn’t be happier. I have no regrets.”