The Times West Virginian

Sports

January 25, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Carey masterful vs. Top 25 foes

MORGANTOWN — Mike Carey, the veteran head coach of the nationally No. 18-ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team, is seemingly putting that program into a peak pitch.

For starters, the highly respected, popular Clarksburg native has guided his talented teams to 26 of the 36 WVU program’s wins over Top 25-ranked teams.

Keep in mind, too, that this is only Carey’s 13th season in WVU’s 40 years of women’s basketball history.

Give his current class of Mountaineers considerable credit, too. It is 17-2 overall and 6-1 in the Big 12 Conference. This team might well turn out to be Carey’s best.

The Mountaineers’ most recent victories over Top 25 opponents were posted this year.

They upset No. 11 Oklahoma State 71-67 on Jan. 4 and then No. 13 Iowa State 73-59 on Jan. 15.

Making those two triumphs even more significant is that both were achieved on the road in “Cowboy Country.”

You may recall that West Virginia’s highest ranked victim was No. 2 Notre Dame — also on the road — on Feb. 12, 2012.

Next was No. 4 Rutgers 65-54 in Morgantown on Jan. 29, 2008.

The third highly ranked victim was No. 5 Louisville on Feb. 7, 2009 at Louisville. Then it was Rutgers again (ranked No. 6) by 56-40 in the Big East Tournament at Hartford, Conn.

Obviously, all four of those wins against the program’s highest Top 25 teams were orchestrated by Coach Carey.

After WVU’s 80-61 victory over No. 8 George Washington on Feb. 8, 1982 (under co-coaches Kittie Blakemore and Scott Harrelson), Carey-coached clubs posted the next six wins over the highest ranked teams.

In addition to the two aforementioned at Oklahoma State and Iowa State, the other four were against No. 12 Georgetown, 39-32, on March 4, 2012, No. 13 DePaul 82-70 on Jan. 13, 2006, at home, No. 14 Louisville 66-50 down there on Feb. 4, 2012, and No. 14 Notre Dame 56-50 on Jan. 13, 2008, in Morgantown.

That certainly should indicate both the consistency as well as efficiency of the teams Carey and his staff have turned out since his arrival at WVU in 2001-02. He had been head coach of the men’s basketball team at Salem International for 13 years.

Carey, whose record for 12 years was 244-121, had the best percentage among the program’s five head coaches at a winning percentage of .633

Obviously, it’s even better with a 17-2 mark so far this season.  After losing to Ohio State 71-65 in this year’s opener, the Mountaineers enjoyed a 13-game winning streak. Nationally ranked Baylor ended that run here 79-63 on Jan. 8 at the Coliseum. An amazing 48 points by Odyssey Sims made the damaging difference.

Since then, the WVU women have won four consecutive games, including Wednesday night’s 70-51 rout of Texas Tech (6-12, 0-7) at Lubbock, Texas. The Mountaineers move on to Austin, Texas, for a Saturday contest against the University of Texas.

WVU shot 48.7 percent from the field (22 of 45) against Tech and outrebounded the Red Raiders by 40-28.

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