The Times West Virginian

Sports

December 7, 2012

WVU women cope with Bussie injury

FAIRMONT — In a way, West Virginia University’s women’s basketball team has been playing from behind even before the season started.

With high hopes and a Top 25 team back in the fold, plans for a memorable first year in the Big 12 appeared shot when senior center Asya Bussie went down with a season-ending knee injury on the team’s second day of practice in October.

Bussie, after all, was a first-team All-Big East co-captain last season and became the 28th player in program history to score 1,000 career points. But aside from the raw numbers — she shot a team-high 53.2 percent from the field as a junior, averaged 12.1 points a game and added 226 rebounds — Bussie gave WVU veteran leadership and another interior post player needed to compete in the rugged Big 12.

However, the Mountaineers, who were picked second in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll, haven’t used the injury as a crutch. Instead, WVU has tried to adjust with a guard-heavy lineup in an attempt to extend opposing defenses.

“It’s never a good time for that to happen, but at least it happened early,” veteran WVU coach Mike Carey said of Bussie’s injury at Big 12 media days. “That allowed our players to adjust to their roles, and our guards are already being more aggressive.

“We felt good about going into the Big 12 this year with our size and our players in the post, but that stuff happens.”

Even with Bussie out, the Mountaineers return four starters from last year’s team that went 24-10. Two of those players, junior guards Christal Caldwell and Taylor Palmer, averaged double figure scoring.

This season, WVU has spread the wealth.

Palmer leads the team in scoring (10.4 points per game) and 3-pointers (14 of 52) and is shooting 91.7 percent on free throws. Post player Yaya Dunning averages 10.1 points and 6.9 rebounds to help ease the loss of Bussie. And three others — Caldwell (9.1 points), Bria Holmes (7.9) and Crystal Leary (7.4) — have each provided a scoring spark, with the latter two pulling the feat despite not starting a game.

The Mountaineers’ two other starters, Averee Fields and Linda Stepney, average 5.1 and 3.0 points, respectively. Stepney is the team’s starting point guard and assist leader.

The win over Marshall, WVU’s second straight victory after suffering back-to-back losses over LSU and Iowa, wasn’t all positive. Stepney suffered an injury in warmups and was limited to two minutes of action Tuesday against Marshall, and Dunning battled foul trouble.

And Carey wasn’t pleased with his team’s effort at all — despite beating their in-state foes for an eighth straight time — aside from two players in Holmes and Leary.

“I told them, ‘You can be mad at me because I’m mad at you. Two days from now we can kiss and make up, but I’m mad now. I don’t like to be embarrassed,’” he said.

“We didn’t play hard. I told them I was embarrassed, totally embarrassed.”

The up-and-down Marshall victory, which vaults WVU to 5-2 on the season, came two days after Carey’s team impressed in a 54-47 win at Virginia.

“It’s just amazing, against Virginia, couldn’t get a shot off. They had great talent,” he said. “I’ll take the blame. I didn’t have us ready. You can bet your (rear) I’ll have them ready for the next game.

“A college coach shouldn’t have to tell a college player to play hard. I spent the whole time in a timeout telling them were not playing hard.”

WVU is back in action on Saturday when it hosts St. Bonaventure, the first of four home games to close the calendar year. Following the matchup with the Bonnies, the Mountaineers will take on Youngstown State (Dec. 16), Duquesne (Dec. 20) and Appalachian State (Dec. 28). Appy State is coached by East Fairmont graduate Darcie Vincent.

WVU opens its Big 12 schedule Jan. 2 at Oklahoma.

Email Nick Cammuso at ncammuso@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter@NickCammusoTWV.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • NMHS #28 PITCH -TS.jpg Pitching pushes North past Monarchs in game two of doubleheader: PHOTOS

    North Marion coach Vic Seccuro wanted to send a message to his team, telling them to focus, bear down and grit out a victory.
    After falling 13-8 to Braxton County in game one of a Saturday doubleheader, the Huskies bounced back to beat John Marshall, 4-2, Saturday at North Marion High School.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • EFHS #21-OG #11-TS.jpg Bees split with Oak Glen on Senior Day: PHOTOS

    Twice on Saturday the East Fairmont softball team found itself leading Oak Glen 3-1 in the seventh inning.
    The situation was the same in both games of the doubleheader. The way the Bees’ handled it, though, was quiet different.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • NMHS #14, 21-RC #14-TS.jpg Lady Huskies fall to Ritchie County late, 5-4: PHOTOS

    It couldn’t have happened the way it did even if No. 6 Ritchie County had drawn it up.
    The bases were loaded. There were no outs. And by a swing of bad luck a fly ball was dropped in the outfield as two runs came across to score, propelling the Rebels to a 5-4 win over No. 9 North Marion in the final game of the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School Saturday.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • Blue Jackets edge Pens, 4-3, in double OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

    April 20, 2014

  • Braun homers twice, rallies Brewers over Pirates, 8-7

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 20, 2014

  • NMHS #14 hit.jpg North Marion goes 2-for-2; Fairmont Senior 0-for-2 in tournament

    A day after an 11-0 mercy-rule victory at Philip Barbour, the North Marion Huskies were at it again.
    Chelsi Latocha threw three no-hit innings, Shelby King drove in five runs in the first inning and the Huskies rolled to a 20-0 victory over the winless Fairmont Senior Polar Bears in the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School.

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • Brewers’ Lohse beats Pirates again

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 19, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos