The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

Bob Herzel

December 4, 2012

WVU women finding their game

MORGANTOWN — If anything can be drawn from the West Virginia women’s 54-47 victory Sunday over a good Virginia team that can carry over into today’s 7 p.m. game against instate rival Marshall, it is that the team had a lesson in what its identity is and how to play to it.

The Mountaineers (4-2) went into the Virginia game off two consecutive losses, losses built mainly off dismal shooting both from the field and the foul line and an inability on defense to stay away from stupid fouls.

In beating Virginia they certainly didn’t solve the shooting problems. West Virginia shot just 35.6 percent for the game. Its two high scorers, Christal Caldwell (19 points) and Taylor Palmer (11), made just 12 of 44 from the field.

Shooting may be a problem all season with this team, especially minus Asya Bussie, the team’s high scorer last year and top inside presence, who is out for the season with knee surgery.

That’s the reality. Some teams don’t shoot well.

In fact, in losing the two games in a row, not shooting well didn’t bother Carey particularly.

“What disappointed me was when we missed our shots we broke down defensively. When you’re not making your shots you have to get stops. That’s something we’ve been able to do in the past,” he said.

It is the trademark of Mike Carey teams. They will battle you harder on defense than on offense, wear you down and beat you.

Against Virginia, that is just what occurred.

“We’re known defensively,” Carey said. “Our girls really stepped it up today and talked and communicated and did a great job. There was a lot of bodies on the floor there and I thought it was a great basketball game. We feel very fortunate. They are going to win a lot of games and hopefully we will, too. I thought our team battled for 40 minutes.”

The defense, like the offense, requires players working together as a unit and this WVU team has still been in the process of figuring that out. Not that it is a different group than a year ago, but without Bussie assignments changed, positions changed and leadership changed.

“I think it will come. It is coming along together better now,” center YaYa Dunning, herself a team leader, said before the Virginia game. “Playing so many people, we need to get a feel for one another and communicate better on the defensive end.”

The result was the Mountaineers held a Virginia team that had won five of six entering the game to just 25.8 percent shooting, pressing the 3-point shooters to the point that they made only 3 of 21, which is 14.3 percent.

Ball pressure also forced 23 turnovers to just seven assists.

That also solved the problem of fouling too much that cropped up in the two previous losses, especially when Iowa shot 50 free throws and Dunning had to go to the bench with early foul trouble.

“We have to play defense, stop penetration, smother the ball before it gets inside to YaYa because we know there isn’t that big a presence in the post area because Asya is not there,” guard Taylor Palmer said.

That’s the way the Mountaineer defense will have to perform against Marshall in tonight’s Capital Classic.

Marshall comes into the game at 4-3 after splitting two games in the Eastern Kentucky Tournament, losing to Jackson State before beating Presbyterian College with Shay Weaver, named to the all-tournament team, hitting five 3-point shots in each game.

She scored 36 points in the tournament on 12 of 21 shooting, making 10 of 17 3s, which is something the West Virginia defense will concentrate on.

Palmer is the Mountaineers’ leading scorer at 11.0 points a game while Christal Caldwell averages 10.3 and Dunning 9.7.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • 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

  • 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

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    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

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    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.

    April 14, 2014

  • 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

House Ads
Featured Ads