Celebrating Good Times

Though the weather outside was dreary and overcast, the mood inside WVU's Mountainlair Student Union on Wednesday night was bright and celebratory.

Hundreds of blue and gold-clad well-wishers turned out for Wednesday night's rally celebrating the accomplishments of the 2006-07 men's and women's basketball teams. The ceremony was put together by Morgantown Mayor Ron Justice and the Mountaineer Maniacs over the past few weeks.

The event was originally scheduled to take place outside on the Mountainlair Plaza, but afternoon showers forced the event to be moved indoors. Despite the change of venue, the spirits of Mountaineer fans were anything but dampened.

Basically, the event had everything that a normal Mountaineer basketball game would have. The cheerleaders and Mountaineer Brady Campbell were going around pumping up the crowd. Jay Drury and the WVU pep band were playing all of their familiar Coliseum favorites from "The Time Warp" to "Hail West Virginia." There was even a big inflatable basketball hoop for fans to show off their best shot. Basically all that was missing was a scoreboard and the Kroger Shopping Cart Shootout.

Travis Jones of the Mountaineer Sports Network introduced the women's basketball team and staff one by one. First team all-Big East selection Olayinka Sanni and senior forward Britney Davis-White addressed the packed house.

"On behalf of my team I just want to say thanks for supporting us and coming out to our games, even when we were down," said Sanni, who along with redshirted guard Meg Bulger will form one of the best senior combinations in the Big East next season.

"This program is going to do big things really soon," said Davis-White. "Keep supporting them."

Head coach Mike Carey, who collected his 100th win at WVU this past season, urged the fans to pick up their support for his program.

"It's fantastic when we look in the stands and see the support," he said. "For us to take this program to the next level, we're going to need the support of everyone in this room. This is great that you're here tonight, but if we're going to take the next step for women's basketball here, we need people in the stands, we need people up there cheering. We can do that."

Carey also expressed his gratitude to the cheerleaders and pep band for their efforts this past season.

Tony Caridi, play-by-play voice for men's basketball, then introduced the men's team in alphabetical order. Having a month off between games has certainly put some bounce back into the step of several players as many of the team members sprinted to the stage. Freshman point guard Joe Mazzulla and senior center Rob Summers had enough energy to neglect using the stairs, instead opting to jump onto the stage from the ground.

Senior forward Frank Young, a first team all-Big East selection and NIT NVP, received a standing ovation as he was introduced.

"I just want to say thanks for all the support you have given us for the past four years that I have been here," said Young. "It's been a fun ride. These guys behind me that are returning next year are a great group of guys. Coach Huggins and these guys behind me are going to do a great job next year and keep the West Virginia tradition going."

Young waved farewell to Mountaineer fans one final time as Caridi stepped up to the podium.

"It's a great night to be a Mountaineer, wherever you may be," he said, repeating his signature line.

And with that, one of the best seasons for both men's and women's basketball in school history was officially in the books.

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