Carey Primed For Year Two

Despite a shuffling of the players he expected to welcome to the Mountaineer program this fall, women's basketball coach Mike Carey believes his team is ready to make another climb up the Big East ladder.

Carey had a busful of new players headed for campus this year in addition to transfers Liz Holbrook and Latitia Williams, who sat out last season at WVU.

However, as fall began, two players were suddenly removed from this year's picture. Juco forward Ramika McGee was felled by a torn ACL in her left knee, underwent surgery, and will miss the entire season, while Tabith Ruth, another potential juco transfer, failed to pass all of her necessary coursework.

After struggling through a season where he played a rotation that pretty much consisted of six players, Carey was looking forward to the added depth that McGee and Ruth would have provided. Even without them, however, Carey still feels that he has much more talent at his disposal this year.

"We were counting on them, needless to say. But we have all five starters returning, we have a couple other of junior college players in Michelle Carter and Janelle Dunlap, and we have two good high schol recruits," Carey said as he analyzed this year's squad.

"We also have our two transfers, Liz Holbrook and Latitia Williams, so I think we're going to have enough new players to make a pretty good nucleus."

Along with his short bench, Carey had to contend with a definite lack of height inside last year. Bigger opponents wore the Mountaineers down in the paint by playing volleyball off the boards. This season, things could be different.

"I think Latitia Williams (6-2) will be as good an athlete as there is in the Big East. Liz Holbrook (6-2) is a big time athlete. And Michelle Carter (6-2) is a banger, and I like the way whe's been aggressive in the preseason.

"I think we're going to be better on the offensive and defensive boards, and that will help our fast break."

Add in returning senior Mary Grace Carson, who fills out the front line at, you guessed it, 6-2 and WVU might have enough presence inside to turn a few more heads this year.

Of course, blending new talent with returning players can sometimes be a dicey task. The number of shots for players like Kate Bulger, Yolanda Paige and Sherell Sowho could decrease as new players work there way into the offense. For Carey, however, that's a nice problem to have.

"Kate has a shooter mentality. And we want her to have that. If she's open, we want her to shoot. But she'll realize that she doesn't have to do it all this year. We'll have people inside that can help. And Paige and Sowho will be a year older. That will help them.

"Last year, as the season wore on, teams doubled Kate more and more, and he scoring went down a little bit. This year, we can distribute the ball a little bit more, and I think that will help everyone."

Up next, a look at the defensive side of the ball.

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