The Times West Virginian

Sports

December 21, 2013

WVU women shoot for 10th straight

MORGANTOWN — For the most part, coaches are a cautious lot, forever leery of giving an opponent bulletin board material with something they have said.

Not Mike Carey, West Virginia University’s women’s basketball coach.

It’s a short step from his mind to his mouth, without so much as a caution light in between.

At 2 p.m. today, his Mountaineers travel to Pittsburgh to take on Duquesne in search of their 10th consecutive victory since an opening-day loss to Ohio State.

The Dukes are 8-3, a good team unlike a number of WVU’s most recent versions of the Washington Generals, a team that has beaten WVU in each of the last two seasons.

Carey goes through the normal “coach speak,” talking about how good Duquesne is, but upon completing that obligation, he offers the following observation:

“We’re going down there to beat them and if we take care of business we will beat them,” Carey said.

This story, with that comment, ought to come with a roll of Scotch tape for Duquesne coach Dan Burt to use to hang it on his dressing room wall.

Carey doesn’t care, of course.

“We are going to play a lot of good teams, home and away,” Carey said. “We need to have a lot of confidence. I expect to win every game, and that’s the way I’ve always been.”

This is one he won’t step around. He said a week ago that he takes losses personally, especially two of them in a row.

Mike Carey wants this game badly, as does his team.

“It’s hard not to take it personal when a team beats you two years in a row,” said forward Christal Caldwell.

They still carry the image, as Carey puts it, of Duquesne players “dancing on our floor” in last year’s 62-54 defeat 366 days ago.

“I’m tired of talking about the last two years and them dancing on our court,” added center Asya Bussie.

“This is one of our biggest non-conference games. We’re excited to play them again on their home court. They beat us the last two years, but we’re ready to play them,” guard Taylor Palmer added. “This is a huge game for us. This will be a great test before we play in the Big 12.”

WVU is coming off a huge victory over an outmanned Delaware State team, 109-47, a game that served as little more than a practice for the Mountaineers, who are hungry for some stiff competition to get ready for Big 12 play.

“A game like that you work on us,” Carey said. “You can develop a lot of bad habits in games like that, so I coach the team. I don’t look at the score and get on them if they do a little something wrong and they look at me like I’m crazy.”

But in games like the Delaware State game you aren’t forced to pay for your mistakes, and the kind of mistakes you make in a game like that can cost you in a close game.

Sophomore Bria Holmes enters the Duquesne game off a 22-point effort that moved her into the scoring lead on the Mountaineer team at 14.3 points a game. It was the first 20-point game of her career.

But the offense works off Bussie in the post. The 6-4 senior has drawn the most defensive attention all season, with teams sagging and doubling her, yet she averages 13.9 points per game and 7.5 rebounds.

Senior guard Raegan Moore averages 18.7 a game to lead four players in double figures for the Dukes.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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