WVU women look to keep edge vs. MU
MORGANTOWN -- As the West Virginia University women's basketball team heads into Tuesday's Capital Classic game against Marshall University, the Mountaineers are looking to continue their dominance against the Thundering Herd under head coach Mike Carey.
Since Carey has coached at WVU, the Mountaineers have lost just once in the annual game at the Charleston Civic Center.
And the wins haven't been close, with WVU winning by an average margin of close to 19 points per game. Two years ago the Mountaineers beat the Herd by 57 points. But Carey knows this year's edition of the in-state rivalry will be much different.
"We've just got to get back on a roll to give us some confidence," he said.
The teams meet at 7 p.m., Tuesday, in the Charleston Civic Center.
West Virginia (4-2) is coming into the game off of a much-needed bounceback victory on the road against Virginia.
The win came after suffering losses to LSU and Iowa at the FIU Thanksgiving Classic when the Mountaineers couldn't seem to find any consistency.
"There were spurts in both games that we looked really, really good and there were spurts in both games that we looked really, really bad," Carey said. "We have to become consistent. We're going to struggle a while until we become consistent.
"It's not like they're bad shots. Where I was disappointed is when we weren't making those shots, at times, we broke down defensively."
Carey said some of the Mountaineers' struggles early in the season could be attributed to the fact that they are working a few younger players into the rotation. Freshmen Jennie Simms, Bria Holmes and Darius Faulk are combining to average more than 31 minutes per game.
Through their first few games, the younger players are trying to play a little too fast, and not setting up the offense the way the veteran head coach would like to see.
"We're playing a lot of young players and a lot of people off the bench," he said. "When you take quick shots and you're not hitting them, it leads to a fast break the other way. ... I think we're hurrying our offense a little bit."
So far this season WVU is shooting 37 percent from the field, which ranks ninth among the 10 teams in the Big 12 Conference.
The Mountaineers will be going up against a Marshall (4-3) team that is No. 110 nationally in field goal percentage defense.
West Virginia was able to start to pull away in last year's 12-point victory while shooting 36 percent. In that game, Christal Caldwell scored 13 points while making four of her nine attempts from the floor.
This season Caldwell is averaging 10.3 points, and thinks the Capital Classic could be a good chance for the Mountaineers to continue improving and pick up another victory.
"People are going to come see us, and not just see the men play (on Wednesday)," Caldwell said. "With that being a big rivalry game, I think that will bring a lot out of us.
"We know we could have beaten both of those teams (LSU and Iowa). We've had a lot of time to tweak some things and come together."