Times West Virginian
In only his second season in the Big 12 Conference, West Virginia University women’s basketball coach Mike Carey has been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Carey led the No. 7 West Virginia women’s basketball team to the most regular-season wins in program history, including a 16-2 Big 12 record for a share of the regular-season conference title. This season’s honor marks the third time coach Carey has been named a conference coach of the year, since earning the Big East coaching recognition in 2003-04 and in 2009-10.
In addition to the coaching honor, five additional honors were given to the West Virginia women’s basketball team.
Senior center Asya Bussie was named to the All-Big 12 first team and the Big 12 all-defensive team. Sophomore guard Bria Holmes was a unanimous All-Big 12 first-team selection. Senior guard Taylor Palmer earned the Big 12’s Sixth Man Award, while senior Jess Harlee joined Bussie on the Big 12 all-defensive team.
Bussie is now a three-time all-conference selection after earning All-Big East freshman team in 2010 and All-Big East first team in 2012. This season was Bussie’s first ever in the Big 12 Conference, and the first time she has earned a defensive award. Bussie, who leads the nation with 133 career and consecutive starts, is the Mountaineers’ second-leading scorer with 13.2 points per game and leads WVU’s rebounding efforts with 7.7 boards per game.
Her scoring average ranks as the 11th-highest average in the Big 12, while her rebounding is the seventh-best of all league players. The Randallstown, Md., native, leads the Mountaineers with 65 blocked shots this season. Averaging 2.2 blocked shots per game, Bussie ranks No. 36 nationally. She is currently second on WVU’s all-time blocked shots list with 264 blocks.
Holmes, who was named to the Big 12 all-freshman team last season, has remained WVU’s season-leading scorer with 14.8 points per game, ranking seventh in the Big 12 Conference. She has led the Mountaineers in scoring 12 times, with six 20-point games and 21 double-figure scoring games to her name this season, Holmes’ 15.3 points per league outing ranks as the sixth-highest of all league players. The New Haven, Conn., native continues to lead the Mountaineers in field goals made (157), 3-pointers made (62) and steals (41).
Palmer came off the bench in 27-of-30 games this season to earn the sixth-man honor. She led WVU’s bench players in 25 games this season, including leading the entire team’s scoring in three games. The Mount Vernon, N.Y., native is the Mountaineers’ fourth-leading scorer with 10.2 points per game, and is second on the team in 3-pointers made (49). She recorded her 1,000th point off the bench this season. Her 1.6 three-pointers per game rank 10th in the Big 12 and her .778 free-throw percentage is also 10th.
Harlee is named to the All-Big 12 defensive team for the second consecutive season. The Bel Air, Md., native has recorded 32 steals, third-most for WVU, and was instrumental in blocking the final shot in a pair of conference games to propel WVU to the win in each game.
The Mountaineers earned a bye in the 2014 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship held at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. As a No. 2 seed, WVU will face the winner of the first-round game, held on Friday at 9:30 p.m., between No. 7 TCU and No. 10 Texas Tech. WVU tips off in the quarterfinal round at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The game will air live nationally on Fox Sports Net, and locally, on ROOT Sports.