West Virginia tries to get back on track vs. Panthers
Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011
Updated: Thursday, February 17, 2011 21:02
West Virginia head women's basketball coach Mike Carey watched his team's 60-53 loss to Pittsburgh earlier this month 15 times.
He still doesn't have an answer to explain the team's overall problems.
"I'd like to say that we're not playing hard, but we are," Carey said. "To put a finger on it, the last three or four games, we're out-rebounding opponents almost by 10, we're shooting a higher percentage from the foul line than what we have been, turnovers weren't that much of an issue."
One thing clearly remains evident, though.
"We're just not scoring from the floor," he said.
The Mountaineers have lost three straight Big East Conference games and have averaged just 58 points in each of those contests.
For the remaining four games of the 2010-11 regular season, Carey has delivered a simple message to his team to fix the scoring woes: Let it fly.
"That's what happens when you're not shooting well; You get tentative," he said. "If we can start hitting shots, we'll have our confidence back."
Point guard Sarah Miles has listened. Watching her share of Pitt film has helped, too.
"We learned that we missed a lot of scoring opportunities by making an extra pass," she said. "For me, it's stay up, pull up and trust my jumper."
Aside from the scoring problems, the Mountaineers have targeted another area to exploit in Saturday's 2 p.m. showdown at the Petersen Events Center: Taneisha Harrison.
Pitt's senior guard lit the Mountaineers' defense up in the last match up going off for 30 points, while hitting 5-of-6 3-pointers.
Carey admits she wasn't the focal point off the scouting report two weeks ago. But, it's a different story this time around.
"We didn't do a good job finding her and gave her good looks," Carey said. "We went into in the game to shut down (guard Shayla Scott and point guard Ashlee Anderson). We knew Harrison was going to shoot from the left corner. We just didn't know she was going to shoot that well."
Miles has bought into this new attack and proclaims she will make sure Harrison is taken care of all afternoon.
"She gets no breathing room at all," Miles said. "We played her as a shooter, and we have to play her as a driver."
With a full week of practice to prepare for Pitt, Carey said he feels good about Saturday. The extended film sessions have made him realize this team is the same team that surpassed its potential last season.
The struggles have shown that a year of experience may not be the key to success, but a target has been on the backs of the WVU squad all year.
"When you start losing, you want to change everything," he said. "You go out and you want to change your whole system. You go home with the one that you came with. We're not going to change. We just got to do a little bit better, get some more confidence and get some more shots.
"Last year, we ran the same stuff and won 29 games. This year, that same stuff isn't as good."
Every day, Miles looks in the mirror and receives the same message, too.
"We're the same team, we're the same girls and we just have to get it going," she said.