Bouncing Back

The West Virginia women's basketball team is once again heading into the Big East tournament without much momentum, but head coach Mike Carey says his squad has to put the last two games of the regular season behind it.

"We didn't play well," Carey said with a rueful laugh as he recounted losses to Notre Dame and Connecticut. "Needless to say, you can't shoot as poorly as we did. We were disappointed with those last two games.

"We are looking forward to the tournament. When you go to the tourney, you have to try to forget about regular season and play with a lot of confidence. We didn't have practice yesterday, because the coaches need to get over [the losses] too. We need to forget about them.

Last year, we were able to make it to semis after losing big to UConn in the last game, so we don't need to discuss those losses. We need to be positive and have good practices.

RIFLE REPORTS

Carey isn't overlooking the 10th-seeded Panthers, who battled the Mountaineers hard in WVU's win at the Petersen Events Center.

"We had a tough game against Pitt during the regular season," Carey recalled. "To beat them again, we have to control their inside game. They hurt us inside in the first game. I think we can get up and down the floor on them, but we have to rebound first. We have to make some shots – we've had some open looks recently, but we haven't made them."

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Carey is starting to contemplate what life on the team will be like without star point guard Yolanda Paige.

"Yolanda is the person that has helped us go from the bottom to the middle," Carey said. "She's a four-year starter, and has taken a lot of things upon herself. She will be a really hard to replace, not only on the floor but also off the floor. I've been here four years, and she has too, and it will be difficult to find someone to take her spot."

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Thoughts of replacing departing seniors inevitably lead to a discussion of recruiting. Carey mentioned that as a big key following the UConn game, and his thoughts haven't changed much in the interim.

"We are surely going to try to recruit better," the fiery coach said. "That's our job, we have to go out and make that happen. We aren't deep enough. When we have injuries or get in foul trouble, there's a big drop off between the people on the floor and the people coming off the bench."

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Carey also remains unhappy with his team's competitive edge. While crediting his players with good effort, Carey has seen signs that his team backs down in some situations.

"We've been inconsistent all year – someone comes up and gets into us defensively, and we aren't aggressive. When someone comes up and gets into you, you have to set up backdoors and picks, and we haven't done that."


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