The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

March 18, 2014

WVU women motivated for NCAA Tourney

MORGANTOWN — Sometimes getting what you wish for isn’t all you thought it would be, and so it was with West Virginia’s women’s basketball team.

Given a No. 2 seed for the upcoming NCAA Women’s Tournament, the highest seed in school history and one a spot higher than they expected to get after losing the Big 12 Conference championship game to Baylor, the Mountaineers learned that they did little to increase the respect the program was given or to improve their chances of reaching the Final Four.

West Virginia will play at 3 p.m. Sunday in Baton Rouge, La., in a first-round game against No. 15 Albany (28-4), who defeated Stony Brook, 70-46, for their third consecutive America East title.

The Mountaineers begin their drive toward the Final Four on a road filled with land mines.

“My first thought is how difficult a road West Virginia has been given,” said analyst Rebecca Lobo, the one-time Connecticut center and All-American.

Not only does West Virginia figure to come up against No. 7 seed LSU, who faces No. 10 Georgia Tech in its first game, on its home floor should it get past Albany, but then it will go to the Regional Final and probably face No. 3 seed Louisville on its home floor.

That is a No. 2 seed facing two opponents on their home floors without ever playing a home game themselves, while No. 2 seeds Duke and Baylor play two home games and the other No. 2 seed, Stanford, would play the regional final on its home court.

“We knew we were going to have to play on someone’s home court,” Carey admitted. “It is what it is. When you get into the second round, you are going to play good teams. You’d rather not play them on their home floor, but it is what it is in women’s basketball.”

But to play back-to-back games as a visitor?

“You’d like not to do that. If I had my ‘rathers’, I’d like not to do that. You’d rather not play back-to-back,” Carey said.

If West Virginia does win its first three games, it then would probably come against No. 1 seed in the region, Tennessee.

As hard as it is to believe, the scheduling didn’t bother Carey as much as the treatment they received on the ESPN Selection Show.

“There was a lot of things said that ruffled my feathers. That’s good, though. We’ll have some exciting practices,” he said. “It’s amazing. You’re a No. 2 seed and you go in the underdog. That’s amazing to me.”

Carey said he sensed as the show went on and they talked glowingly about so many other teams after just brushing his 29-4 West Virginia team aside that his team was becoming irritated.

“That’s OK. I want them fired up. I want them going in with a chip on their shoulder. I want them mad and I want them hungry. Evidently, we still have a lot to prove to the country.”

And Carey understands why that is.

“We have just not gone out and done well in the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully, this is the year we will go out and do it,” he said.

Senior Christal Caldwell left little doubt that the team did feel slighted.

“We go into this with a chip on our shoulder and we want to beat whoever it is on their home floor in front of their crowd,” Caldwell said, speaking like someone who had a chip on her shoulder. “This team is hungry. We do not pay attention to our ranking or the number by our name. Anyone can get beat. We just have to go out and play basketball.”

The Mountaineers shared the Big 12 regular season title with Baylor to earn that No. 2 seed. Their previous high was No. 3 in 2010 when they were upset by No. 10 San Diego State.

Last season West Virginia lost to Delaware, playing on the Blue Hens’ home court.

WVU has now made the tournament five straight seasons and seven of the last eight. In but one of those years they won a first round game before losing, twice to No. 1 seeds.

This year’s NCAA tournament begins with first-round games Saturday and Sunday, followed by second-round games at the same sites Monday and Tuesday. The regional semifinals and finals are scheduled for Saturday through Tuesday of the following week and the Final Four is April 6-8 in Nashville.

NOTES: The Mountaineer Ticket Office will have tickets available for the West Virginia University women’s basketball NCAA tournament matchup with Albany (NY) on Sunday, March 23, in Baton Rouge, La., at 3 p.m. ET. Fans may purchase tickets beginning at 9 a.m., today, by calling 1-800-WVU GAME. Tickets will also be made available to WVU students with a valid I.D. at the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the WVU Coliseum. Student tickets must be purchased in person.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • WVU #6 SHORTS -TS.jpg WVU opens practice with different feel: VIDEOS AND PHOTOS

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.
    Of course, he would note, “Everybody in the country has a good first day.”
    But somehow, this was different.
    Very different.

    August 1, 2014 9 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Social media adds another thing to watch for coaches

    As someone who has gotten himself in enough hot water with a misplaced Tweet, when West Virginia University quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld what should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    August 1, 2014

  • WVU basketball non-conference schedule released

    After playing challenging schedules along with the tough Big 12 road, West Virginia University has backed off some this season on its non-conference schedule that was released Thursday.
    West Virginia is coming off a 17-16 season in which it failed to reach the NCAA Tournament and lost to Georgetown in the first round of the NIT.

    August 1, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • 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

House Ads
Featured Ads