Meeting the Call

West Virginia women's basketball head coach Mike Carey certainly wasn't happy when he learned junior star Meg Bulger was lost for the season with a knee injury, but since he received that stunning news, he has seen a silver lining in the response of his young team.

"Our other players have responded, and I have been very happy with their effort," said Carey, whose team has beaten #11 DePaul and played top-ten rated UConn well before falling by eight points at Gampel Pavilion. "They have responded very well. Right now we are starting three sophomores, a freshman and a junior, so we are very young. We have two freshmen point guards, so we have struggled at times, but I have been pleased with how hard we have played. As long as we get the effort we've gotten since Meg was injured we will win some games, but we will continue to struggle [because of our youth]."

Bulger's surgery has yet to be scheduled due to lingering swelling in the knee.

"We need to get the swelling down before the surgery, because that makes it easier to rehab it afterward," Carey explained. "If you can get the swelling out and get some movement back in the knee before the surgery, the rehab is usually easier."

Bulger has been to several different doctors for opinions and advice on how best to proceed. A location for the surgery has also not been selected.


Although Carey was happy with the response of his young team, he still bemoaned the loss of some opportunities against the Huskies.

"There were several times during the UConn game that we could have cut the lead even more," Carey noted. "We had several wide open threes that just missed. The effort was there, and I was pleased with that. But as I told the team after the game, if we don't have all the turnovers and hit a couple of the open threes, we could have won it. We need to get better with our execution."

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WVU next faces Providence – a game that Carey views as a critical one for WVU's Big East tournament hopes.

"Providence is much improved. The have a new coach, and they are believing in their new system. This is an important game for us. We need to win 2-3 more games to get into the Big East tournament. We have no expectations beyond that – that's what we are shooting for right now."

The Friars, who are better, run an offense designed to spread the floor. Friars coach Phil Seymore has worked with WVU men's coach John Beilein, and has brought some of Beilein's philosophies with him to the Rhode Island school.

"They are patient on offense," Carey said "They run a spread and shoot threes, and if they hit them they are pretty good. Their post player inside is playing well, and she is very skilled, which makes them tough to guard. They have a lot of confidence at home, and we know we will have to play hard and play one of our better games to win there. They are very organized and very deliberate. You have to defend weak side and get out on the shooters.

"When we started the scout (on Providence), it looked very familiar," Carey said. "He learned some of Coach Beilein's system, and they run some of those plays. We've worked on it in practice, and will keep doing it.

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