MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Over five weeks have passed since the WVU women’s basketball team hosted a game at the Coliseum. That stretch will end when the Mountaineers host Cornell Tuesday afternoon. Tip time is set for 2 p.m.
“That’s all we have been doing the last couple days. We have just been getting a lot of shots up,” said WVU head coach Mike Carey. “This is the third day in a row we have practiced in here (the Coliseum). We need to get back in here and get used to it.”
The Mountaineers (9-1) remain 19th in this week’s Associated Press poll. During their stretch of six consecutive games away from Morgantown, West Virginia won at No. 10 Mississippi State and defeated No. 19 Michigan State and Syracuse at a tournament in Orlando. WVU erased late deficits to win the games against the Spartans and the Orange.
“It was great to see that this team has a lot of confidence even if they get behind late in the game.”
Nine Mountaineers are averaging over fifteen minutes of playing time per game. First-year players Kirsten Deans, Emery Martinez, Rochelle Norris, Arleighshya McElroy and Blessing Ejiofor have added depth to Carey’s lineup.
“We brought in some freshmen that were able to contribute early. It gave us a bench. And we have people competing for playing time. Anytime you have people competing for playing time, you have a chance to be pretty good.”
“Our inside game has a lot of room to grow. We have good leadership and I like this team. It is early but we are in great shape I feel going into league play.”
After dealing with a thin bench in recent seasons, Carey says competition for playing time has been intense.
“I took a survey with all the players how many minutes they expect to play during a game. It was 300-plus minutes. There’s only 200 minutes in a game. So after every game, somebody is going to be unhappy.”
Cornell comes to Morgantown with a 6-4 record and the Big Red has won five of their last seven games.
“This is a big game here tomorrow. This is another team that spreads you,” Carey said. “Last night, they went to St. Bonaventure and won by 28. We don’t want to overlook this team.”
Carey said that redshirt freshman center Rochelle Norris (sprained ankle) will likely not play Tuesday. He is hopeful Norris will return to the lineup for Sunday’s conference opener at Kansas State.