West Virginia coach Mike Carey will bring his Lady Mountaineers to play in the iconic Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center on Sunday for the first time in his 19-year tenure. But he is definitely no stranger to the city itself.
Carey, a Clarksburg native, is a regular visitor to Beckley during the annual Coaches Caravan each May. He has seen the type of support WVU receives here, and is looking forward to putting his team on display.
WVU will host Radford in an early nonconference game. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.
Carey, who has led the Mountaineers to national prominence, said he enjoys taking the team to neutral sites for fans who normally don't get the chance to see them play.
"It's tough for the fans to come (to Morgantown)," he said. "Sometimes the men might play on a Wednesday and then we play on Thursday. You can't keep travelling up and down the road. This gives people the chance to see and support us throughout the state."
The Mountaineers are 2-0 after a pair of convincing wins over Presbyterian and St. Francis. Presbyterian is in the Big South with Radford.
Kysre Gondrezick, a 5-foot-9 junior guard, is WVU's top scorer at 22.0 points per game. The scoring is balanced from there, with the next six players averaging from 8.0 to 5.5 ppg.
"We have been playing nine people. That comes from having a bench, which we were not able to do because of (lack of) numbers last year," Carey said. "Are we in a rotation? No. But I'm excited with where we are. We have height, we have people who can score."
The number of players to take the floor will increase to 10 on Sunday when senior guard Tynice Martin makes her season debut. Martin had been suspended after she was charged with domestic battery in July. She pled no contest to the charge last week and was reinstated.
"We are glad to have her back," Carey said. "She is a great young lady. This will be her fifth year with us. She is a very caring person, honor roll student. We are excited that she will be with us."
Martin was an All-Big 12 first-teamer last season after averaging 18.0 points and 5.8 rebounds. She is 11th all-time at WVU with 1,588 career points.
WVU has made things difficult on opposing shooters thus far, holding St. Francis and Presbyterian to a combined 24 percent shooting and an average of 42.5 points.
"Defense is what we hang our hat on," Carey said. "We don't want teams to get good looks and step into shots."
Sunday's game will be a bit of a homecoming for Radford senior Sydney Nunley, a 2015 Greenbrier East graduate. She became the Lady Highlanders' starting center last season and was second-team All-Big South after averaging 10.1 points and 9.7 rebounds.
Nunley is averaging 8.5 ppg and 5.8 rpg for 1-1 Radford.
Amele Ngwafang leads the Highlanders with 12.0 points and 13.0 rebounds. Khiana Johnson is their top scorer at 16.5 ppg.
Tickets for Sunday's game can be purchased at all Little General stores in Raleigh, Fayette, Wyoming and Mercer counties. All tickets are general admission and are available for $7 each.
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