The Times West Virginian

Sports

March 9, 2013

WVU women looking past injuries

Play Sooners today to open Big 12 tourney

MORGANTOWN — It never has been easy on Mike Carey, so why should the West Virginia University women’s basketball coach find it any different as he heads into today’s Big 12 Conference Tournament at 9:30 p.m. in Dallas after a first-round bye, his sixth-seeded Mountaineers facing No. 3 Oklahoma.

The game can be seen on the Fox Sports Network.

You know how it’s been for Carey. He inherited a program that was a bottom feeder in women’s basketball, built it as best he could but was always banging his head against the nation’s top team in Connecticut.

All that while there were injuries over and over, mostly knees, which would take away key players and keep his team from looking like he expected to when he was building it.

So this year the jump from the Big East to the Big 12 would make life easier?

Hardly. He winds up again in the conference with the most dominant team in women’s basketball, Baylor, and once again his team is decimated by injury, heading into this first tournament game without one of his key players, Jess Harlee, an All-Big 12 defensive choice, who became the third knee injury of the year in the final regular-season game against Texas.

“She tore her ACL and her MCL trying to save a ball from going out of bounds,” Carey said after getting the report from the medical team. “No contact, no nothing. Just turned it. It was at the far end. We saw it and there was no doubt in my mind what had happened. Needless to say, she’s out for the year.”

It’s a key loss in a lot of ways.

“We’ll miss her leadership. Someone else has to pick up that role,” Carey said.

Harlee was being used off the bench to provide instant energy. Now that’s gone, so Carey has to find another approach.

“Everyone has injuries and you say, ‘Man, that’s a shame,’ but when it affects you directly, it really is a shame,” he said.

His problem is that he really hasn’t had time to prepare for playing without Harlee.

“We can talk about it all we want, but we have to get on the floor. You don’t have a lot of time to make adjustments,” Carey said. “We couldn’t practice Wednesday, and by the time we got out of practice on Thursday we only had an hour on the floor.”

And it’s on the floor where the work must be done.

“When Jess went down we put different people in at the 4 and tried to run some plays, and we didn’t have any ball movement. We ran four or five plays and oh, that was a mess. I shouldn’t have tried that. That was not good,” Carey said.

“The problem is we haven’t had time to correct that. It is what it is. We have to probably not make so many adjustments … just play people in their positions and try to get away with that.”

In Oklahoma his team meets a solid outfit that was ranked much of the year and finished 21-9 with an 11-7 league record compared with WVU’s 17-12 and 9-9 marks.

The two teams split their games, Oklahoma winning on its home court, 71-68, and WVU winning at the Coliseum, 82-63. Taylor Palmer scored 30 for WVU in the loss while Christal Caldwell, the team’s leading scorer for the year and freshly named to the All-Big East first team, led the victory with 24 points.

The Sooners are led by Aaryn Ellenberg, the conference’s third top scorer with 19.0 points a game.

“Aaryn Ellenberg is as good as anyone in the league and can score in bunches. We have to try to keep the ball out of her hands. We can’t let her go off,” Carey said.

One problem Carey has to deal with is fatigue. The Mountaineers are making their fourth trip to Texas in the past month and second this week, a week in which they have traveled roughly 4,161 miles.

Carey will not let his team use that or the injury to Harlee as an excuse.

“It’s tournament time. You have to step up. There is no tomorrow now. We have to step up and play,” Carey said.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Growing demands on college athletes concerns Wyant

    Fred Wyant, one of the greatest quarterbacks in West Virginia University’s history, has lashed out at today’s growing demands on college athletes.
    The 80-year-old Star City resident led the Mountaineers to a 30-4 record as the starter from 1952-1955. Percentage-wise, it’s clearly the best-ever record by a QB in school annals.
    Wyant, a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, came here after graduating with honors from Weston High School. That’s where WVU coach Art “Pappy” Lewis signed him to a four-year scholarship.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time.jpg Texas’ Strong prefers not talking about national title

    Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game.
    The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NMHS hopes new playing surface generates excitement

    The St. Louis Rams coined the nickname “The Greatest Show on Turf” for their collective group or multiple Hall of Famer-caliber players in during the 1999-2001 seasons. If Rams can run on turf, why not Huskies? 

    July 22, 2014

  • FSU's Barfield, Jean-Charles named preseason All-Americans

    Chris Barfield and Jacob Jean-Charles earn preseason honors by being named to the USA College Football Division II Preseason All-American team.

    July 21, 2014

  • Baylor coach isn't buying schedule strength argument

    The College Football Playoff committee has vowed that strength of schedule will be a major criteria when selecting the four teams.

    July 21, 2014

  • Big 12 Commissioner says cheating pays

    Big 12 Commissioner says the NCAA lacks the resources to enforce its rules and that has to change.

    July 21, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos