WVU hopes to gain momentum in Big East Tourney
Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 21:03
The West Virginia women's basketball team got the win it was looking for on Monday when the Mountaineers defeated St. John's, 69-49.
WVU, which has lost seven of its last 10 games, most likely secured an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament.
"Our season was filled with a lot of disappointing losses, but you can't dwell on that, especially now," said senior captain Liz Repella. "We have to take this win and build on it. (The season is) not over yet."
WVU head coach Mike Carey said his team needs to get some wins in the Big East Conference Tournament to gain momentum before heading into the NCAA Tournament.
WVU has a relatively manageable draw in the conference tournament, as it would not play a team it lost to this season until the quarterfinals.
The 10th-seeded Mountaineers (22-8, 8-8 Big East) will open up the Big East Tournament with 15th-seeded Cincinnati (9-19, 2-14) Friday at 6 p.m. in Hartford, Conn. When the two teams faced each other on Jan. 8, West Virginia came away with a 72-44 win.
If West Virginia is to win Friday, it would play seventh-seed St. John's (20-9, 9-7) for the second time in less than a week.
"We still need to go to the Big East Tournament and win one or two," Carey said. "We have to make some noise and start playing a little better."
Carey said the Big East Tournament will also allow West Virginia the opportunity to improve its NCAA Tournament seeding, which has been hurt because of the team's late-season struggles.
Repella said Monday's win helped boost the team's confidence level after losing two-consecutive games to Notre Dame and Rutgers.
If the Mountaineers can win games in the Big East Tournament, Repella said it will be the first time the team has had momentum in quite some time.
"Hopefully we can win a few games at the Big East Tournament and just keep the momentum going," Repella said. "We really haven't had the momentum, and now I think we have it. We just need to carry it on."
One player who has been gaining momentum on the offensive side of the ball is senior forward Korinne Campbell. After averaging 10.5 points last year, the senior has struggled from the field, scoring just 5.7 points per contest.
Campbell, who has scored season-highs in the last two games of 13 and 14 points, hadn't scored double-figures since Dec. 21. She has scored in double figures just six times this season.
"Once I started rebounding, which was one big thing I needed to do, the offense just came," she said. "We have to go out there hand have fun. That's something that we just started doing. We have to build on that."
Carey seemed to like where his team could be headed offensively. In addition to Campbell's performances as of late, Carey likes that point guard Sarah Miles is starting to attack the rim more consistently, as it allows for the team's top scorers, forward Madina Ali and guard Liz Repella, to have an easier time on offense.
"Hopefully we have several options to go to offensively," Carey said.