Women Struggling in Big East Play

The West Virginia women's basketball team suffered an ugly loss to Georgetown over the weekend, leaving the Mountaineers at 3-6 in the league and 12-8 overall. Although head coach Mike Carey is upset with both of those marks, they haven't changed his expectations for his team.

"We're very disappointed with our Big East record," Carey said on Monday. "Our seniors aren't stepping up to take over the way they should. Yolanda Page and Sherell Sowho have to step up and take command down the stretch, but they haven't been doing that."

Those shortcomings were in evidence against the Hoyas. In a game where the Mountaineers missed 11 free throws and lost by six points, any sort of senior leadership could have turned the game around. However, WVU "failed to make any big shots down the stretch," according to Carey, and as a result West Virginia is now buried in ninth place in the Big East standings.

Although WVU would probably have to sweep their remaining conference games or win the Big East tournament to get back the NCAA Tournament, Carey isn't lowering his sights or goals for the team.

"I've thought about that some," the fiery coach admitted, "but we still expect to win and have enough talent to win. We've had some injuries, but I'm not making excuses. We had some injuries last year too. Last year we were able to fill in with seniors, but this year we are starting two freshmen."

One of those freshmen has been improving, however, and could be a force for the Mountaineers in coming seasons. Center Olayinka Sanni, who has been strong since replacing the injured Yelena Leuchanka, recorded the first double-double of her career against the Hoyas with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Carey credits the strong freshman for keeping the Mountaineers in the game against Georgetown, and notes that she will continue to get better.

"Like all freshmen, she needs to be more consistent, but she is still young," Carey explained. "That's true for all freshmen, of course. She works hard, and I think she will end up being a good player for us."

WVU also continues to ride the back of sophomore Meg Bulger, but needs to develop other players who can take, and make, pressure shots when the game is on the line. The Mountaineers host St. John's Tuesday at the WVU Coliseum.

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