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

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • 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

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Smallwood puts future in jeopardy

    The last thing West Virginia’s struggling football program needed as twilight was setting on Bastille Day in Morgantown was to have one of its own whisked off to the North Central Regional Jail on a fugitive warrant from another state, especially a player who had figured to play a key role in the resurrection of a program gone bad.

    July 16, 2014

  • WVU player arrested in Delaware case

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail awaiting extradition on a felony warrant out of Delaware.

    July 15, 2014

  • WVU hoping to add two non-conference contests

    West Virginia is nearing the completion of deals to play football games against long-time rival Virginia Tech, now in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, according to a source close to the negotiations.
    An announcement is expected shortly.

    July 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: MLB All-Star game biggest celebration of top athletes

    You will pardon me if I find something else to do when the Pro Bowl rolls around, or if I try to find a “Three Stooges” marathon when it’s time for the NHL All-Star game. As for the NBA All-Star game, I’d rather watch a replay of a four-year-old Uruguay-Ethiopia World Cup soccer match in which I knew the outcome.
     

    July 14, 2014

  • Howes learns to ‘never settle’ as WVU administrator

    You probably don’t know much about Terri Howes, even though she is a rather high-ranking executive in the West Virginia University athletic department.
    “I like it that way,” she said, sitting in a large office at the Coliseum, decorated with pictures and memorabilia, a jar of candy sitting by the door for visitors to dip into.

    July 13, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Rich Rod’s return not impossible

    As you may guess, in the wake of LeBron James’ decision to let bygones be millions and return to his rooters in Cleveland, more than once was I approached with someone wanting to know if this opened the door for a return to West Virginia University of their once-reviled coach Rich Rodriguez.

    July 13, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Trickett best option as a leader

    In the end, West Virginia University’s decision to place the mantle of starting quarterback upon veteran Clint Trickett was less about quarterback than it was about leadership.
    This is not to say that Trickett lacks the talent to succeed as quarterback in coach Dana Holgorsen’s system.

    July 6, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads