By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
January 26, 2010
WEST VIRGINIA GAME NOTES
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The 11th-ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team looks to rebound from only its second loss this season when it faces Seton Hall on Wednesday evening at the WVU Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
The contest will air on West Virginia PBS (channel 699 in Morgantown; channel 10 in Charleston/Huntington; channel 203 in Clarksburg/Wheeling/Weirton; and channel 209 in Martinsburg) and will also air on MSN women’s basketball affiliated stations with play-by-play announcer Travis Jones and color commentator Jay Jacobs on the call.
|| Liz Repella looks to feed off her sharp-shooting performance from her last game.
West Virginia’s auspicious 16-game win streak was halted last Saturday when it fell at fourth-ranked Notre Dame, 74-66. WVU led for the majority of the contest, but was unable to put away the Irish at one of the more difficult venues to play at in college basketball. However, WVU is tied for its best 20-game start in school history with the 1991-92 “Sweet 16” squad.
“We should have won that game. We’re not happy about that,” WVU coach Mike Carey mentioned about his team’s recent performance. “I made a statement after the game that I’d like to play them again on a neutral floor with both teams having their full squads. They’re good. They’re No. 3 for a reason, but we can play with them. There’s no doubt in my mind that if our players get another opportunity they can play with Notre Dame.”
The Mountaineers (18-2, 5-1) now shift their focus to a Seton Hall team that has lost eight in a row and remains winless in the Big East. The Pirates (8-12, 0-7) have played several difficult opponents during their stretch, including Connecticut, Syracuse and DePaul.
“We’re coming off a loss,” Carey added. “The mark of a good team is when someone has to come in here and pay for our loss. Seton Hall happens to be the next game. We need to make a statement these next two home games that we’re for real and we need to come out and play extremely hard.”
WVU is inching closer to its ninth 20-win season in program history, with Carey looking for his fifth in just his ninth year. The Mountaineers are one of 15 schools nationally to have no seniors on their roster, making their success this season seem a year ahead of the curve.
West Virginia stills holds a worthy streak dating back to last season, having won its past 14 home games. The Mountaineers have won their 12 home games this season by an average margin of 23 points.
“It’s nice to be at home," Carey added.
Junior guard Liz Repella had one of her best outings of the season against Notre Dame, scoring a season-high 24 points on 9 of 16 shooting that included five 3-pointers. As a team, WVU was 9 of 15 from long distance, with Korinne Campbell, Sarah Miles and Vanessa House also knocking down outside shots.
Campbell is sixth in the Big East in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 41.7 percent from the outside. The Princeton, N.J., native continues to lead WVU with 7.9 rebounds per game, tying for the sixth-best average in the conference.
The Mountaineers are currently third in the Big East standings, trailing only undefeated Connecticut and Georgetown. West Virginia remains in the Top 3 in several key categories, including scoring defense (50.8 ppg), rebounding defense (33.5 rpg), rebounding margin (+8.6), blocked shots (5.6 bpg), and offensive rebounds (15.8 rpg).
It is uncertain whether starting forward Madina Ali will be available for Wednesday’s contest. The redshirt junior from Williamsport, Pa., still has some lingering effects from a high-ankle sprain that she suffered against Marshall last Wednesday.
“We’re getting her loosened up and we’ll see what she can give us,” Carey said of Ali. “She tried and wanted to play against Notre Dame, but I wasn’t going to injure her more just by keeping her in there.”
Seton Hall is led by the combo of junior guard Ebonie Williams and sophomore forward Kandice Green. Both players are averaging 13.8 points per game, with Williams shooting 42.1 percent from 3-point distance and 85.3 percent from the free throw line.
“They are athletic and like to do a lot of high-low,” Carey said of Seton Hall. “They have Williams, who is a legit Big East first or second-team player. They do have scoring from the guard position but they like to go inside and attack the rim. They’ll play a little 1-2-2, three-quarter press and they’ll play a little zone defense and some man-to-man.”
Green leads Seton Hall with 167 rebounds, averaging nearly nine per game. She is also performing well from the charity stripe, making 106 of 141 attempts (75.2 percent).
Senior forward Nicole Emery is the Pirates’ other double-figure scorer at 10.5 points per game. She leads Seton Hall with 17 blocks and is second with 26 steals.
WVU is 9-12 all-time against Seton Hall in a series that dates back to 1983. The Mountaineers were defeated by the Pirates, 55-47, in their last meeting in 2009.