The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

March 25, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN- WVU women hope to beat LSU: ugly if not pretty

MORGANTOWN — With so many upsets in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, it was breathtaking to see West Virginia hold on for a 76-61 win against Albany (N.Y.) in the first round of the NCAA women’s tournament.

It certainly wasn’t an easy task, as anyone who watched the No. 2-seeded Mountaineers cut short the No. 15-seeded New York college’s Great Danes Sunday afternoon at Baton Rouge, La.

Now the even greater question is: Can the WVU women rise up and defeat seven-seeded Louisiana State University on its home court in the second round?

The two teams clash at 9:30 p.m. today in an arena named for Pete Maravich, LSU’s all-time greatest men’s team player ever and a West Virginia native.

ESPN is scheduled to televise this vastly critical contest. The winner advances to the NCAA “Sweet 16,” where WVU has yet to reach in coach Mike Carey’s 13 years here.

LSU already had eliminated 10th-seeded Georgia Tech in a high-scoring 98-78 shootout before the completion of the WVU-Albany contest. Four double-digit scorers led the way.

So the Tigers should have a slight edge in rest in addition to the huge home-floor advantage.

In capturing a 30th victory in one season, the Mountaineers set another all-time record for West Virginia’s 41 years of women’s basketball — the last 13 under Carey, whose name appears in the mix for National Coach of the Year consideration.

Just how far his team can advance in the NCAA tourney obviously will be a factor in voters’ consideration in the balloting process.

This will be the fifth meeting with the Tigers, who lead the WVU women’s all-time series, 4-0.

LSU prevailed in the most recent matchup by 61-53 last season in the Florida International University Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 23, 2012. That series dates back to 1985 in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. LSU won, 69-57, in a first round meeting.

A victory tonight not only would be special to Carey and his crew but it would be the program’s first — and only trip — to the Sweet 16 since 1992 when the NCAA Tournament consisted of 48 teams — not 64. This happens to be the WVU women’s team’s fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA tourney and seventh in 10 years — all under Carey’s leadership.

To me, that’s a sign of consistently great recruiting and coaching as well as good player performance.

Make no mistake, this year’s group of WVU women — best ever in my opinion — can be even greater before this year ends. They readily admit, as does Carey and his assistants, that Sunday’s performance was both good and bad against Albany.

The Mountaineers built a steady 22-point lead during the first half. Then, with WVU committing 13 turnovers in the second half, the Great Danes battled back to within seven points.

That had to be scary. But WVU held on for dear life, as it did so many times, to wind up winning.

“You know, we really don’t get caught up in being pretty,” Carey was quoted after the game. “I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty.”

How could anyone argue with such a successful philosophy by one of WVU’s all-time winningest — and classiest — coaches I’ve ever known?

“We’ll be fine,” assured Carey, who’s not really disturbed. “I’m not going to worry about it.”

He believes Albany had a lot to do with his team’s inability to perform better than it did on Sunday.

Do the Mountaineers have to play better against LSU?

“Absolutely” the veteran mentor replied.

The Tigers own a 20-12 record and probably are expecting a huge, vocal crowd of supporters.

Text Only
Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN: Ex-Mountaineer track star dies; WVU athlete arrests may be concern

    I’ve learned belatedly that James Gordon “Jim” Dial, an outstanding men’s track and field sprinter at West Virginia University during the late 1940s, has died.
    He was a native of Huntington who earned All-State first team status. The Huntington High star led all scorers in the state Track Championship meets in both 1946 and ’47.

    July 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Jedd Gyorko running and taking batting practice now

    A report on the internet at this week’s start indicated that Morgantown’s Jedd Gyorko might be ready finally to rejoin the San Diego Padre’s starting lineup.
    He has been on the Major League’s disabled list since June 3. Problems with his feet was given as the reason Gyorko was unable to keep playing.

    July 16, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU hopes to boost season-ticket sales

    West Virginia University’s season-ticket sales for football are the lowest in nine years just two months before this season’s first home game.
    That will be on Saturday, Sept. 6, against Towson State. The Big 12 portion of the schedule follows.

    July 10, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: San Diego Padres’ Gyorko remains on disabled list

    Stringing together some odds and ends that may interest you:
    • Jedd Gyorko still is not active with the San Diego Padres. The former West Virginia University standout has been on the baseball’s disabled list for just over a month and hopes to return soon.

    July 9, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: It had to feel like ‘Ol’ Home Week’ for the Tricketts

    It might have felt like a bit of “Ol’ Home Week’ to West Virginia University starting quarterback Clint Trickett.
    His parents, Rick and Tara Trickett, were in the Morgantown area and stopped by to spend some time with Clint. They still live in Tallahassee, Florida.

    July 3, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU football season-ticket sales approximately 26,000

    Stringing together some odds and ends about sports that may be of interest to you:
    • West Virginia University season-ticket sales for the 2014 football campaign have reached approximately 26,000. That’s some 2,000 since the count of 24,000 when the renewal deadline was reached.

    June 27, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: USA Today has WVU 78th in football countdown from No. 128 to No. 1

    Like Las Vegas oddsmakers, USA Today’s sports writer Paul Myerberg doesn’t rank West Virginia highly in that newspaper’s early college football predictions in a copyrighted piece.
    In one of its thorough pieces, USA Today analyzed West Virginia in its No. 78 ranking among 128 college teams. That’s what is called a countdown from No. 128 to No. 1.

    June 24, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Las Vegas oddsmakers not kind to WVU in early listings

    Not long ago, I guessed that the West Virginia University football team will go 6-6 during the 2014 football season.
    That was based strictly on a hunch. It would show at least some improvement over last year’s pitiful 4-8 finish.

    June 22, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Five different items about a variety of sports

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • In a continuing federal court case out West, an economist recently testified that student athletes could receive as much as $1 million were he or she given a half share of a major college’s revenue from network game broadcasts over a four year period.

    June 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Noll was the most successful football coach I ever knew

    Charles Henry “Chuck” Noll was without question the most successful football coach at any level that I’ve ever known in my writing career.
    Noll, who died in his sleep at 82 last Friday night, served 23 enjoyable – and most memorable – years as mentor of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    June 17, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads