The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

February 13, 2014

Unsatisfied WVU women visit Oklahoma

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University’s women’s basketball, it’s poll spot having been elevated to No. 13 this week, has its place in March Madness cinched, but getting there really isn’t what it’s all about for a team as talented as the Mountaineers.

This year, with a senior-laden roster and talented underclassman, they are looking to make some noise.

“The biggest thing is you never want to be satisfied,” coach Mike Carey said as his team prepared to head to Norman, Okla., for a rematch with a Sooner team it had beaten, 77-63, at home earlier in the season.

“The ultimate goal is to win the national championship. I’m never pleased; it doesn’t matter. I’m never going to be pleased as a coach,” he said. “I need to continue to push and to say we need to get better in these areas.”

The point, over the last seven games before the Big 12 Tournament, is to reach the peak, to get to the point where you can shine under the brightest spotlight in the game, and the Mountaineers believe they have what it takes to be special.

“If we are going to peak it needs to be right now so we’re ready for March,” senior guard Christal Caldwell said. “I still don’t think we’ve put together a full 40 minutes. I think that’s the great part about it because we are winning these games but still haven’t played our best game. When we do, it’s going to be scary.”

Think about the talent WVU (20-3 and 9-2) has.

For example, it faces the Sooners (15-9 and 6-5) tonight, a team with a true star player in Aaryn Ellenberg, a player who averages 18.8 points a game.

WVU has no one averaging anywhere near 18.8 per game, sophomore guard Bria Holmes having raised her average to 14.4 in her last outing with a career-high 31 points.

But, what WVU does have is four different players who have scored 25 or more points in a game during their career – Holmes and Taylor Palmer, a senior who once 33 points in a game; Asya Bussie and Caldwell, each of whom has scored 25 in a game.

“When everyone on the floor can score, you’re balanced. We can bring people off the bench that have double figures, which is unique,” said Carey.

It gives him all kinds of options entering into a game.

“The other night, Asya didn’t score a lot and Averee Fields didn’t score a lot, yet our guards picked it up. We can go inside to get scoring, but also on the perimeter,” he said.

What makes it nice is he isn’t tied to a game plan that isn’t working coming in.

“You know who is playing well, who is not, who’s hitting their shots, who’s not, what’s the best combination. I play nine or 10 people and try to see who is playing well together,” he said. “On the other hand, sometimes players have off days. Your game plan may be to shade one player but she isn’t playing well, so now all of a sudden someone else starts hitting and you have to make adjustments.”

Oklahoma, too, has players other than Ellenberg who can score, starting four players in double figures, but it’s Ellenberg who draws the attention. She scored 28 points the first time these two teams faced each other, and Carey undoubtedly will have some new tricks to try in this rematch.

The game will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports 1 with Ron Thulin and Brenda VanLengen. The game will also air live on the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG online and on WRLF-FM 94.3 and WMMN-AM 920 with Jeff Culhane and Meg Bulger.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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Bob Herzel
  • 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

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

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    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

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    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

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  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU punter turns heads at linebacker

    They call him “Huey the Punter.”
    His real name is Houstin Syvertson. His real position is not punter. Not anymore, anyway.
    To be honest, until Saturday’s spring game, not many people following West Virginia football knew the name or the nickname. They know it now.

    April 13, 2014

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