> PHOTOS FROM TODAY'S PRACTICE
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia women’s basketball team officially opened practice today, kicking off the start to the 2013-14 season.
“We’re excited and ready to go,” says coach Mike Carey, who enters his 13th season at the helm of the program. “Coming in, I thought we have to get people healthy; you know Asya (Bussie) and Jess (Harlee). I wanted Linda Stepney
to really work on her shooting and work on being aggressive offensively—that’s something we’ve been working on all summer and something we continue to work on.”
Bussie sat out last season due to a season-ending knee injury sustained in the second practice of the season, while Harlee rehabbed a knee injury that occurred in the final regular-season game of the year in order to return for this season. On Wednesday, the Big 12 Conference announced Bussie earned Preseason All-Big 12 honors, while returning leading scorer and last year’s All-Big 12 First Team member Christal Caldwell
earned honorable mention honors.
and Taylor Palmer
have really worked hard, and Bria Holmes
really improved over the summer,” Carey says. “We think we have a lot of pieces, and I’ll be able to really bring people in and out. I think we’re pretty deep, as deep as we’ve ever been, so we’ll be able to keep fresh people in there and do some other things.”
In addition to five seniors, and the return of five additional letterwinners from last season, including four starters, WVU added three new players to the Mountaineer family in true freshmen Lubirdia Gordon
and Teana Muldrow
, and transfer Breanna McDonald
. McDonald will sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Fans will have their first opportunity to see the Mountaineers in action as they take on Concord in an exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. The exhibition game is a part of the Haunted Hoops event presented by Coke Zero. WVU will officially open the season at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, in the WVU Coliseum, as it takes on Ohio State. The Mountaineers will then take to the road in the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic where they will face Ole Miss, Washington State and host Hawaii, Nov. 15-17.
“We have a tough schedule. Our first five games are probably the toughest first five games on the schedule since I’ve been here, but we did that because we have a lot of our players back. Our schedule is pretty tough and I did that for a reason,” Carey explains. “The bottom line is, you can play whoever you want to play, but you have to win. If you’re fortunate enough to win some games, come NCAA time, you get a higher seed and hope to not have to play on someone’s home floor. If we take care of business during the season, then we’ll have an opportunity at the end of the season.”