The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 8, 2014

WVU women host star-studded Baylor

MORGANTOWN — A year ago, when Baylor’s women’s team came into the Coliseum, it was the basketball event of the year.

Featuring one of the greatest women’s players of all time in Brittney Griner, ranked No. 1 in the nation, undefeated for two years in Big 12 play and possessing a 28-1 record at the time, a record crowd of 13,447 fans jammed their way into the Coliseum.

Griner and Baylor did not disappoint, winning 80-49 with Griner scoring 28, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking 10 shots for a triple double.

Well, guess who’s coming to dinner at 7 tonight at the Coliseum.

It’s Baylor again, minus Griner but not lacking in star power. Winners of 12 of 13 games (all it took to beat Baylor was 133 points in a quadruple-overtime 133-130 loss to No. 5/6 Kentucky) and ranked No. 7/9 in the country, the Bears offer Odyssey Sims for your watching pleasure.

Sims, now free of the huge shadow cast by Griner, has taken it upon herself to see that there is no dropoff.

All she is doing is leading the nation in scoring, averaging 30.8 points a game.

“Last year she averaged 12 a game. Now she averages 30,” said WVU coach Mike Carey, who says that Sims presents more problems defending than did Griner.

“A post player is easier to defend,” Carey said. “She’s down on the blocks, so you know where she’ll be. A guard, she is everywhere. They run sets to get her free.”

The problem she presents is that you can’t over rotate to her because Baylor a cast of big-time supporting players.

“If the center comes over to help, it leaves the big guys open,” Carey noted.

That can give them easy shots or a clean run at offensive rebounds.

“Sims is the key to their offensive rebounding,” Carey said.

And Baylor averages 20 offensive rebounds a game.

It’s a big chore for West Virginia, but one that it should be ready for, coming off a two-game road trip in which it not only opened the Big 12 season with a victory at Kansas, but then went into Stillwater, Okla., spotted the No. 11 Cowboys a 12-point lead then roared from behind to score a 71-67 upset victory.

That’s two road wins for a 2-0 start in conference play, now back home for what could be a game that propels the Mountaineers into the Top 25 rankings. In fact, their exclusion despite the upset and a 13-game winning streak has them a bit perturbed, but they realize it’s a long season and if they keep winning they can’t be snubbed.

Besides … “we like being the underdog,” Bria Holmes said.

The Oklahoma State upset, though, gives a team that was unsure if it belonged in the upper echelons of college basketball a reason to believe.

“It was big,” Carey said. “Any time you beat Oklahoma State at their place, it’s big. They don’t lose a lot of games there.”

Coming home 2-0 was the goal Carey had set for his team.

Bria Holmes, flourishing as a sophomore, led the Mountaineers with 21 points, her second career 20-point effort as she strives to reach her potential.

“Bria does not understand how good she can be,” Carey said. “If she keeps doing what she needs to do, she will be a special, special player.”

In the end, though, it is going to come down to how the Mountaineers handle Sims, who last year scored 10 and 15 points against them with a combined 12 assists in the two games and how they fare in the battle on the boards.

“I hope we get a great crowd,” Carey said, knowing 13,447 might be out of the question, even though he promises it will be warm inside the Coliseum. “We want the same atmosphere in here as they have at the other schools in this league.”

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age

    The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
    “There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”

    April 24, 2014

  • O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall

    Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.

    April 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- WVU faithful again have a reason to root against Vick

    It would be one final indignation, that’s what it would be if Michael Vick were to beat out Geno Smith and win the starting quarterback job with the New York Jets.

    April 23, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions

    West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games

    Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.

    April 22, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads