West Virginia women's basketball coach Mike Carey likes to use an eight-player rotation. He might find that eight is not enough after a rash of injuries just before the season opener versus UT-San Antonio on Friday.

The Mountaineers might miss three of five starters after guards Chakia Cole and Britney Davis-White suffered a knee injury and broken nose, respectively, in Wednesday's practice. West Virginia was already minus Meg Bulger, who had not practiced in two days after a bad ankle sprain in the closed scrimmage against No. 4 Ohio State.

"We're not going to cancel," Carey said, "but I don't know how many good bodies we'll have there."

West Virginia didn't do anything it normally doesn't in practice. Cole went down after taking a charge and Davis-White broke her nose going for a rebound underneath. WVU might use a clear-shield face protector for Davis-White.

Add in Bulger's sprain and bad shin splints causing poor circulation for Kate Glusko and West Virginia is hurting like never before in Carey's four-year tenure. Glusko is expected to be out 4-6 weeks. Bulger is questionable for this weekend.

"Practice wasn't going too bad until we started getting people hurt," Carey said. "Then when you go deeper into the bench the play is not as good. When Meg is not on the floor we struggle to score. Then Chakia goes down and we struggle defensively. Britney is our other guard that can score form the perimeter and she goes down. All the sudden we are just piecemealing who is out there."

Carey will utilize a four-guard set around center Yinka Sanni. Without Bulger, Davis-White and Cole, WVU will likely start Laquita Owens and mix in 6-5 center Yelena Leuchanka and junior college transfer Tamika Kelly, a forward. Leuchanka has already had an injury-riddled career (ACL surgeries on both knees) and has never played a Big East game. She is a senior.

"Well, it will be interesting to see who is full speed and who is not," Carey said. "We have been healthy this whole preseason, and now two days before we got a bunch of injuries. We'll just have to see who is ready."

WVU leaves Thursday for the Nov. 18 opener at 3:30 p.m.. It plays Central Florida one day later. UT-San Antonio, picked to finish second in the Southland Conference, is a surprisingly athletic squad that likes to run. West Virginia will try to force tempo as well, so the game could be an up-and-down, high-scoring affair.

"They put a lot of three-guard sets out there," Carey said. "They try to push the ball, play a lot of man-to-man defense and press a little bit. We know teams are going to press us and play us box-and-one (Bulger), so we're going to have to get used to it."

The Roadrunners will put the brunt of the heat on freshman point guard Ashley Powell, who will start after battling fellow frosh Sarah Bucar for the spot.

"There will be a lot of stuff that I will be unable to do in college that I did in high school," Powell said. "I learned that. If we were 100 percent I feel real confident that nobody would be able to do anything to us. But it is a little stressful now."

UT-San Antonio averaged 4.5 more turnovers (18.4) than assists last season, so West Virginia might be able to use TU-SA's athleticism and penchant for pushing the ball against it.

"They also penetrate well, so we're just going to have to go out and play," said Bulger, who is 71 points away from becoming just the 23rd player in school history to score 1,000 in a career. "These early nonconference games are more to focus on yourself and what you're doing more than what the other team is. Hopefully we can take care of business so they won't have to play too much where it could aggravate the injury further. They don't have a lot of height, so we might have a big advantage in the post."

It is the first meeting between the teams. West Virginia is 19-13 all-time in season openers and has won six straight. It is 6-3 in Thanksgiving Tournaments in the past four years. Under Carey, WVU is 37-9 versus non-Big East teams.

The Mountaineers have not played UCF either. The schools are two of the eight teams WVU faces for the first time in its history.

WVU plays UCF at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The home opener is Nov. 26 against Fordham. It is the front end of a double-header. The men play Louisiana State at 4:44 p.m. WVU will retire Jerry West's jersey at halftime of the game.

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