The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

March 19, 2013

WVU women make NCAA tourney

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia may not have had the season Coach Mike Carey would have liked, but in the end it doesn’t matter as they found their way into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed, drawing No. 3 Delaware and their star player Elena Delle Donna on the Blue Hens’ home court in Newark at 12:15 p.m. Sunday.

Stunned when their own best player, Aysa Bussie, suffered an ACL injury just before the season was about to begin, the Mountaineers struggled through their first Big 12 season to finish at 17-13, 9-9 in conference play.

They put themselves on the bubble losing their final three games of the year.

“It is good we got in. To me that says the strength of the league, our reputation and some of the wins we had on the road; we’re happy to be in,” Carey said.

Delaware also had to struggle early in the season when Delle Donna, who averages 26 points a game for her career and is on pace to be the all-time No. 3 scorer in the college game, missed a month with symptoms of Lyme disease.

The Blue Hens lost consecutive games to Georgetown and Duquesne, the Dukes also owning a victory over WVU, without Delle Donna and lost to No. 9 Maryland in Delle Donna’s first game back.

She finished with 19 points and six rebounds but was a rusty 7 for 23 from the floor in 34 minutes.

“I think Elena gave everything she could. It’s really hard to be off for a long time and have your timing back,” Blue Hens coach Tina Martin said at the time. “It’s only her second game. I mean ... hello? There’s a lot of season left for her.”

She certainly put things together from that point on and led Delaware to 25 consecutive victories while averaging 23.3 points a game for the season.

Tall at 6-5, she can work both inside and out and hits 48 percent from 3-point range.

“She is a big-time player, needless to say,” Carey said. “Some of their other players are very good so you can’t just concentrate on her and let the other players have a career night. We’re going to have to be aware of where she’s at and try to do a good job on her, but also do a good job on the rest of them.”

However, when she was out Delaware was plagued with turnovers and you can bet WVU will turn up the defensive pressure in this game.

In many ways this is a better draw than they have had in the past. The past two years, playing in the 8-9 game, they faced the premier teams in the country on their home courts in the second round, losing to Stanford and Baylor after long travel.

“We have to play on Delaware’s home floor and that’s a good draw for us because it’s close, so hopefully we can get some fans there,” Carey said.

If WVU manages to pull off the upset they would face No. 3 seed North Carolina and should they reach the regional final they would go up most likely against No. 2 Kentucky, avoiding No. 1 seeds Baylor, Notre Dame and Stanford in the early rounds.

Should they get to the final of the Bridgeport Regional they would most likely face old Big East rival Connecticut.

When asked on TV if there was any team she felt could beat her Bears, Griner jokingly named the Miami Heat. At least she seemed to be joking.

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