The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

February 12, 2014

Carey, Huggins have Mountaineer teams on hot rolls

MORGANTOWN — Coach Mike Carey’s nationally No. 13-ranked West Virginia women’s basketball team could be the best he’s had in 13 years at the helm.

“I am very pleased where we are this season,” he said earlier this week. “We have five seniors and they have done a great job leading this team.”

It was suggested that Carey, a veteran of 26 years in collegiate coaching, also has done a great job directing this women’s basketball program.

Carey said this is probably as good and as deep a squad as he has put together here. “We’re very comfortable putting in nine players during the course of a game at any time,” he explained.

This year’s team is especially impressive defensively. With sophomore guard Bria Holmes scoring a career high 31 points, the Mountaineers (20-3, 9-2 Big 12) crushed Kansas State, 84-44, at the Coliseum last Saturday.

Such a rare 40-point victory extended the team’s winning streak to three games. That also enabled the Mountaineers to climb to No. 13 from No. 17 in this week’s The Associated Press Poll.

West Virginia’s women also are in second place in the conference, behind Baylor.

Asked whether any one sticks out in his mind at that moment, the veteran coach replied, “It is probably Asya Bussie, especially on defense. She does a lot better (in that area).

“Bussie is a 6-foot-4 senior and, as the starting center, does a better job than others defensively. She goes over there and helps so well with the players on our team.”

Bussie is from Randallstown, Md.

The Mountaineers will be taking a three-game winning streak to Oklahoma on Thursday for another league contest. The Sooners have an overall record of 16-9, and they are 6-5 in league play.

The WVU women will have only six games remaining on the regular-season schedule after the visit to Norman, Okla. Four of those will be played in Morgantown.

Carey now has taken 12 teams to 20-win seasons. The current No. 13 national ranking is the highest in the program since it was No. 12 on Nov.l 19, 2012.

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Coach Bob Huggins’ West Virginia men’s team struck a peak pitch in Monday night’s shocking 102-77 victory over No. 11 nationally ranked Iowa State before 8,177 wildly cheering fans at the Coliseum.

It’s the fourth win in five games for the vastly improving Mountaineers (15-10, 7-5 Big 12). This also is their second triumph over a Top 25 team this year.

This was the first time a WVU team scored 100 or more points in a conference game since a 104-85 win against Marquette in a Big East Conference clash on Jan. 14, 2006.

The 25-point margin against the Cyclones (18-5, 6-5 Big 12) also was the largest against a ranked team since WVU whipped Ohio State by 28 points (76-48) on Dec. 27, 2008 at Columbus, Ohio.

The Mountaineers not only achieved top production offensively but on defense as well, with key timely changes. It was nearly a total performance of play from start to finish.

Particularly eye-catching was the team’s shooting percentage in all phases.

The Mountaineers made 35 of 65 from the field (55.8 percent), 13 of 22 from 3-point range (59.1 percent) and 19 of 21 free-throws (90.5 percent).

Significantly, Iowa State was limited to 36.6 percent in goaling (26 of 71) and 17.4 percent in 3-point shooting (4 of 23). It made 21 of 30 free throws (70.0 percent).

WVU also showed better scoring balance, with four players in double figures. Iowa State had just two.

West Virginia, now in fifth place in the Big 12 standings, obviously is on a hot roll. So the Mountaineers are aiming at a shot for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

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