MORGANTOWN — Members of the West Virginia University women’s basketball squad Monday night like being seeded No. 5 in the Spokane Region of the 2008 Women’s NCAA tournament, but they were disappointed to be paired against New Mexico in the first round.

That’s because the Mountaineers, 26-7 and ranked No. 16 in the nation, must play Saturday’s game on the home floor of New Mexico (20-12).

“I think it’s a shame that we have to play our first game on the home court of a No. 12 seed,” Coach Mike Carey said after watching the Selection Show with his players on the club level of the Coliseum.

“We’re definitely disappointed. But we have to go play the game. We figured on a five seed. But I thought we’d be sent to Maryland or North Carolina.”

Neither the veteran Mountaineer mentor nor any of his players have ever been to New Mexico for basketball.

If West Virginia gets past the Lobos, it will play the winner of a game between No. 4 Vanderbilt and No. 13 Montana in Albuquerque. Game times have yet to be announced.

In other first-round contests in the New Mexico arena on Saturday, No. 6 Pitt meets No. 11 Wyoming and No. 3 Baylor plays Fresno State.       

In the only previous meeting between WVU and New Mexico, the Lobos prevailed by 71-56 on Jan. 9, 1982 in Morgantown.

“New Mexico is one place I’ve never been,” said senior guard Meg Bulger. “But my freshman year we had to play Ohio State in Columbus. That made it tough and we lost.

“But we try not to worry about playing on a team’s home court. We’ve done a lot of that this year. We definitely will be ready to play, though.”

Olayinka Sanni, senior center and All-Big East selection, said the time off since losing in the Big East tourney has been really beneficial. “We worked on fundamentals and some little things we hadn’t been doing well,” she added.

“Our focus hasn’t been there. But we play well together, and that’s really the key thing. If we do the little things right, we’ll do OK.”

Chakhia Cole, senior forward, thinks the team has worked out of some problems it has been having. She said everyone is anxious to get playing again.

Carey said, “We’re not going to concern ourselves with playing on the other team’s home court. My only concern is that we’re not playing our best basketball now.

We’ve got to go and make the most of it.

“I’m very proud of our young ladies.”

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