By Mickey Furfari
MORGANTOWN — She was born Elizabeth Ann Repella in Steubenville, Ohio, but everyone calls her Liz.
“Yes, I like that name,” said the 5-foot-11 junior guard on the nationally ranked West Virginia University woman’s basketball team.
Coach Mike Carey thinks she is special not only on the court but in the classroom. Repella is a complete player and most certainly a leader on what could be the best woman’s basketball team in school history.
What’s more, there isn’t a senior on the squad, which means Liz and Co. should be even more successful next winter.
In Saturday’s 75-59 victory at Providence, Repella led the way with 25 points ahd 10 rebounds. She became the 27th 1,000-point scorer in women’s basketball history here, and posted her 14th career double-double. She now is averaging 14.5 points and an even 6.0 rebounds for the 23 games.
The Mountaineers were 21-2 overall, including 8-2 in the Big East, occupied third place in the conference standings and ranked eighth and 11th in the two major polls.
While her father, Gary Repella, played basketball at Ohio State in the early 1970s, Liz is “very, very happy” performing for WVU. She is a 3.95 student in exercise physiology.
For the second time, she has been named to the NCAA District II academic first team. She now is being considered for academic national honors.
Carey called her very successful on and off the floor and an extremely important part of his program.
“She is a team leader and goes 100 percent at all times,” he said. “She is 100 percent coachable with a great attitude and work ethic.
“She is second to none. And I hope that carries over to hard work and success in the classroom.”
Besides her scoring and rebounding this season, Repella has made 1.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.5 shot blocks per game.
She is playing an average of 34.2 minutes per game.
Repella made the All-Big East second team last year and was recipient of the Big East Scholar Achievement Sport Excellence Award for women’s basketball.
A Big East academic all-star, she made the WVU dean’s and athletic director’s honor lists.
Last year she was named to this year’s preseason NIT all-tournament team. She is serving as a team captain this season.
Repella said this team is very unselfish, with no one caring who scores so long as WVU wins. “We also hang together and talk basketball,” she continued. “I think that’s another big difference in this team.”
She doesn’t think previous teams were as close off the court as this team is.
Repella leads by example and teammates look to her as a go-to player, especially in tough situations, and she admittedly likes that. She believes this is beneficial as the team strives for more success.
This is the earliest date a Mountaineer women’s team has won 20 games. The No. 11 ranking is the highest ever attained in program history.
Repella said she enjoys giving the ball to a teammate for a big play even more than when she hits a shot herself.
She thinks the team is getting better for the stretch run. It took time to iron out the kinks at the start of the season.
Her career highs include 34 points vs. USF last Feb. 21, 44 minutes in a double-overtime game vs. DePaul, 10 field goals vs. Coppin State and 14 rebounds vs. Louisville.
She also had a high of seven assists vs. Brown, six steals vs. Seton Hall and three blocked shots vs. Radford.