MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After upsetting Baylor for what coach Mike Carey called the most important win of his 13 seasons at West Virginia, the Mountaineers climbed four spots to No. 7 in Monday’s AP poll.
It marked the second-highest ranking ever for the West Virginia women, who enjoyed a four-week stay at No. 6 in December 2010. On the heels of beating Baylor 71-69 on Sunday—and ending the Bears’ 35-game home conference winning streak—there’s reason to believe West Virginia may not be done climbing.
“I can remember beating Notre Dame when they were No. 3 or 4 on their home floor and beating Louisville when they were No. 3 or 4,” Carey said. “But this win meant a lot more to the program, because it gives us a chance at a conference championship.”
West Virginia (26-3, 15-2) owns a nine-game win streak and can secure a share of the Big 12 title by beating Kansas (12-17, 5-12) on Tuesday night at the WVU Coliseum. Baylor (25-4, 15-2), which fell three spots in the poll to No. 9, has a tougher assignment at Iowa State (20-8, 9-8).
Along with pursuing its first league crown since winning the Atlantic 10 in 1992, West Virginia is aiming to improve its NCAA seeding. Sitting 13th in the RPI as of Monday, the Mountaineers have climbed into contention for a No. 2 seed, according to ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme. He projects West Virginia heading to the Baton Rouge pod, where a second-round matchup looms against No. 10 seed LSU.
Of the 16 four-team pods, 13 will be staged on campuses where the home team figures to be bracketed. Only Toledo, Seattle and Los Angeles approximate neutral-court settings.
“We’re probably going to have to play on someone else’s home floor,” Carey said Monday. “But at least we want to be the higher seed playing on someone else’s floor.”