Variety To Test WVU Women

West Virginia women's basketball head coach Mike Carey expects a variety of defenses from upset-minded Marshall. That won't be any different, however, than what the No. 12 Mountaineers see against Big East foes.

"They're going to come out and take it to us, try and attack us and give us different looks just like any team we play in the Big East," Carey said. "What our players are learning this year is that everyone is going to give us their best shot. Marshall is going to give us their best shot and they are going to come out and play very hard and we have to be ready for that."

The Thundering Herd (11-7) is expected to set up in a variety of zones and alignments, including full court presses and traps, 2-3 looks and a man defense. Marshall has allowed an average of 69 points per game, among the highest averages in Conference USA. It has scored at a clip of nearly 72 points, however, and won 11 of its last 15 games. Junior college transfer Kizzy Hart leads the team with 14 points per game. The senior is also the best outside shooter on an inside based squad with 31 treys. She originally signed with WVU, then failed to qualify. After her JuCo stint, the Herd inked the Detroit native.

"I'm sure she will have a lot to prove against us tomorrow night," Carey said. "She's a good, athletic guard out of Michigan. She has really improved her outside shooting based on what I've seen on film."

Carey said the Mountaineers (14-3) will try to force the ball outside, not allowing Marshall to get comfortable operating on the interior. WVU will counter with its usual inside-out approach, dumping the ball to Yinka Sanni on the low block or driving and kicking for open looks from Meg Bulger and LaQuita Owens, among others. The West Virginia forwards must be aggressive to counter Marshall's athleticism and rebounding ability. MU holds only a slight edge over foes, while West Virginia is outrebounding teams by more than six per game. WVU also has major edges in turnover ratio and assists.

Sanni, the Big East Player of the Week, averages 17.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Bulger shows a mean of 13.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game with Owens hitting at 11.9 points and 4.6 boards. The three, along with Chakhia Cole, will be paramount in providing points in what could be a high-coring contest if Marshall can click inside, then get its usual point production from the guards. With MU's reliance upon stickbacks and inside talent, it is surprising the second-leading scorer Casey Baker, another guard. The junior is averaging 12.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting a team-best 48.6 percent from the floor.

"They can defensive rebound and they get a lot of easy shots on the offensive end by hitting the glass because they're very athletic and strong and can get to the rim," Carey said. "We've got to start rebounding better both offensively and defensively."

West Virginia easily won last year's contest 76-54, its fifth win in six series games. Marshall head coach Royce Chadwick will attempt to capture his 500th career win and 100th at MU. He is in his seventh season with the Herd and his 24th overall. WVU will try for its 12th win in 14 games. The game will broadcast on television via CSTV with Jason Knapp and Sonya Beeler on the call. MSN radio with Travis Jones and Jay Jacobs will air the game on many MSN affiliated stations.

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