When the West Virginia women’s basketball team opened practice in preparation for the 2013-14 season, five seniors and a talented group of underclassmen had a goal to make history.
The same group will fly out to Oklahoma City for this weekend’s Big 12 tournament as the league’s regular-season champions. The Mountaineers’ successful season featured winning streaks of 13, 10 and four and ended with an impressive 27-3 overall record.
The fact that West Virginia lost the first game of the 2013-14 season then went on to win 27 of its next 29 games puts into perspective how consistent the group was.
The goal of making history came true when West Virginia hoisted its first conference championship since 1992 Tuesday in a 67-60 victory over Kansas. This group will forever be entrenched in Big 12 history, but their journey is not done yet.
We closed the book on the regular season, and the pen continues to be in the hands of the Mountaineers and their lasting legacy on this wild ride. Up first is the Big 12 tournament, in which WVU has the opportunity to take home its second piece of silverware in a week.
West Virginia will likely play TCU in the quarterfinal game Saturday night. Granted, it shouldn’t be assumed that the Horned Frogs will defeat a Lady Raider team that went 0-18 in conference play. WVU has struggled in matchups with TCU in 2013-14 due to the contrasting style the Frogs play.
The semifinal could be a rematch of West Virginia’s last loss, which came Jan. 25 against Texas. Should WVU move past both tricky fixtures, they will play for a tournament title. How fitting would it be to see Baylor waiting for them in the rubber match of the conference’s top two teams?
The NCAA tournament is what head coach Mike Carey has always been targeting. Often downplaying a conference title and possible run in Oklahoma City, Carey continues to have his eyes set on the big dance. His players follow his lead.
The class of 2014 (sans center Asya Bussie) owns 92 career victories, just four away from becoming the winningest class in program history. It’s a safe bet the team will get a minimum of two more games this season in both the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. If you were looking for more history for these girls to make, this is the next great feat.
The Mountaineer women’s basketball program had their troubles in the NCAA tournament despite getting there consistently in the past decade. In fact, WVU reached four consecutive tournaments before this season, a school record.
So don’t put a bow on the Mountaineers’ season just yet, because there’s a lot more basketball to be played. The scene at the Coliseum Tuesday night when the women unveiled the Big 12 championship trophy was unquestionably special, but the team is primed for even more.