The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 20, 2013

Holmes making strides for WVU

MORGANTOWN — As the play developed, the Delaware State player found herself on a breakaway, dribbling down the court, far ahead of the field.

If this had been the slalom in the upcoming winter Olympics, you would have been saying that the only thing between her and the gold medal was a fall.

This, though, was West Virginia University against Delaware State basketball on Wednesday night, a game WVU would win by the rather ridiculous score of 109-47, and it turned out that what stood between her and a layup was a player far behind, the Mountaineers’ Bria Holmes.

A gifted sophomore guard, Holmes took off in pursuit at breakneck speed and pulled off a Herculean effort as she caught the front-running Hornet from behind just before she was going to take the ball to the basket, slapping it away into the seats as the offended sprawled across the Coliseum floor.

Certainly impressive was the speed Holmes showed for someone who stands 6-foot-1, which makes her a sizeable women’s guard, but more impressive was the desire she showed in a game as one-sided as this, the play obviously not one which would have any real bearing on the outcome.

Such speed, such effort was not what once was expected of her, as teammate Asya Bussie, the Mountaineers’ fifth-year senior center and team leader, would relate in a post-game press conference.

“When she first got here, we had conditioning; she just would not run,” Bussie recalled. “I thought she just couldn’t run and was just slow. We got into an argument (about her effort). Eventually, she started to run, and now she’s leading the team in sprints.”

What was going on with Holmes, who is a shy person and was even more so having just come out of high school in New Haven, Conn.?

“When I first got here, I felt I couldn’t do the stuff they were doing,” she explained. “It was a mental thing. I had just broken down inside. I got through it and this year was fun. I made all my times and stuff.”

Made her times?

“When Bria wants to run, she is as fast as anybody I have,” Carey allowed. “And she’s very athletic. You don’t always have to get shots. The way she jumps, her quickness and height as a guard, she can go in there and dominate the boards, if she wants to.”

Most of her teammates agree that if she continues to push hard, she can become one of the best guards ever to play at WVU along with the Bulgers, Liz Repella, Sarah Miles and Yolanda Paige, although she is going to do her contributing via scoring and rebounds rather than as a set-up guard like Miles and Paige.

Against Delaware State, admittedly not a tough test, she flashed all her skills.

Holmes scored 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, all four of the misses coming from 3-point range, where she did hit two shots. She had four rebounds and five assists … and she was coming back from missing time with a concussion, which may serve as a sign of the way she plays the game.

“This is the best I’ve felt since coming back. I just had to go out there with the mentality of playing basketball and clearing everything out of my head,” she said, which is something the concussion takes care of quite well.

Told that there were those, including Coach Carey, who see her possessing the ability to be among the best guards ever at WVU, Holmes replied:

“That’s pretty much of a shock. I just have to play my game and not think too much about that kind of stuff.”

Holmes has taken over the scoring lead on the Mountaineers at 14.3 points a game, while also leading in steals with 16.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads