Bounce Back Priority

The West Virginia women's basketball team suffered a devastating loss to Marquette at home on Saturday when the Golden Eagles rallied from a 23-2 deficit to earn an unbelievable road win. The loss dropped West Virginia to 10-6 overall and 3-3 in the league, and left frustrated head coach Mike Carey groping for answers.

"It was a great comeback for Marquette. They deserve a lot of credit," said Carey as he analyzed his team's collapse. "They hit 9-10 threes, and we didn't defend well. When Meg [Bulger] got in foul trouble, it seemed like the team lost confidence. We struggled in every phase of the game, and I was surprised that we struggled defensively. We quit defending and gave them open threes. To lose that game at home was difficult and disappointing. I am embarrassed for us. No way we should have lost that game."

After reviewing game films, however, Carey was surprised to see that many of the breakdowns came not from his pair of freshmen point guards, but rather from some players that have been through the Big East wars before.

"It was the two guards and the wing people," Carey said as he identified the source of some of the defensive lapses. "It wasn't our freshmen, but some others that broke down defensively. We have to learn to play when Meg is not in the game. Everyone was waiting on someone else to step up, and it never happened."

Bulger, who has been saddled with foul trouble over the pas handful of games, has been forced to sit out good chunks of the second half. In her absence, her teammates have tended to stand around rather than play aggressively, and as a result the Mountaineers have frittered away several substantial leads. Thus, rather than being in the top echelon of the conference, WVU is now bearing just a 3-3 record, with a number of tough league games to go.

"It's been disappointing to get leads, then get to the last two minutes of the game and have some players forget how you built the lead," Carey said. "You get some turnovers, miss some free throws and don't defend. Any two-minute span can be the difference in the ball game. We have tried to get the ball in different people's hands coming down stretch, but in the end we just have to execute better.

"We have to be a little smarter," Carey continues. "We can't afford to get [Meg] in foul trouble. People try to attack her to get her in foul trouble, and we know that's coming. But she has to be smart about it. When she gets there late to help on defense, she can't reach in. We rely on her a lot, and we have to do a better job of getting her out of foul trouble."

WVU must now try to rebound from the crushing loss in the annual grudge match against Marshall. While Carey understands its importance overall, he also notes that its not a big deal in terms of league play.

"In the overall picture it is important, but in the Big East it's not important at all. Coming off a couple of losses, we need to get our confidence back and play well for 40 minutes. Right now, Marshall is number one in Conference USA. They are very athletic and returned all of their starters but one from last year. This will be tough. On Marshall's schedule, they look forward to this game every year. We have to play down there, and then we turn around and go play St. John's, which is playing as well as anyone in the conference right now."

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