WVU Women's Basketball vs. Delaware State 12/3

Head coach Dawn Plitzuweit against Delaware State on Dec. 3, 2022, at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The first season in Morgantown for West Virginia University women’s basketball head coach Dawn Plitzuweit marked a return to March Madness for WVU.

Unfortunately for the Mountaineers (19-12, 10-8 Big 12), the return was short as the No. 10 seed Arizona Wildcats (22-9, 11-7 Pac-12) made an early start to Saturday afternoon’s game that was hard to overcome. The Wildcats defeated the No. 7 seed WVU 75-62 at the XFINITY Center in College Park, Maryland.

“I'm really proud of these young ladies,” Plitzuewit said after the game. “I thought we played against an Arizona team that played really really well. You know, sometimes that happens, when you get to tournament time it comes down to matchups, and this matchup obviously didn't suit us all that well.”

A 28-17 first quarter deficit was too much to overcome for the Mountaineers, who shot a mere 31% from the field in the matchup, as Arizona advanced to face the No. 2 seed Maryland Terrapins on Sunday.

When asked about how she felt about the team’s growth in her first story, Plitzuweit responded with an analogy to another sport.

“This is our story. I'm not a very good golfer, right? But when golf balls were invented, they were smooth. There weren’t dents or dimples on them,” Plitzuweit said. “And then as soon as they get hit by a golf club they realized that the more density in the golf ball, the farther the golf ball would go. And so that was kind of like us, during the course of our time growing, there was a lot of adversity, there's a lot of learning.”

Plitzuweit said that as the season went on, things began running more smoothly which in turn made it easier for the team to get better.

“When there's a transition, it’s challenging, and and our young ladies can learn a new system, a new style, all those type of thing and we weren't as successful as we wanted to be early on and we continue to battle and continue to grow and continue to put some dents in the golf ball if you will,” Plitzuweit said. “And we kept going further and then the way that we finished, I thought that our young ladies really battled and really continued to get better as the season wore on.”

It was a tough start to the Big 12 slate for the Mountaineers, as two losses of 21 and 20 points to Oklahoma and Iowa State put WVU in a hole early. However, West Virginia won 10 of their final 16 games to wind up making the Tournament.

“And so our understanding of the game continued to grow, our awareness of how to help each other continue to grow. So I thought we continued to get better as the year went on.”

Plitzuweit was also asked about what she liked about the team throughout the year, and lauded their flexibility and attention to detail.

“Well, I think their ability to continue to try new things, if you will, you know, and that's not something that every team has that ability to do that,” Plitzuweit said. “To go from one system, one style, to another, and then we continue to tweak what we did during the course of the year to adjust to how our players played best.”

Overall, the first-year head coach saw improvement in the team over the course of the season.

“And so I think their ability to continue to learn [was something I noticed],” Plitzuweit said. “So we're retaining, we're getting better, we're learning so it was really fun to watch that continue.”

Sports Writer

Jake Howard is a senior journalism major and sports communication minor at WVU, from Leesburg, Virginia. Jake is a lifelong sports fan, he covered sports on YouTube previously and now writes about sports for the DA, as well as being a member of the sports staff at U92. Jake wants to be an SID for his career.