The Dominion Post  

WVU struggles defensively in win over North Fla.

Created on:   Sun, Nov 19, 2017   8:43 PM

Last modified:   Sun, Nov 19, 2017   8:43 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — It’s not every day WVU women’s basketball coach Mike Carey is full of compliments for the visiting team inside the WVU Coliseum.

That changed after an 87-59 victory Nov. 19, in front of 1,156 fans by the 12th-ranked Mountaineers, in which North Florida continually drove inside the paint for some easy baskets.

“Give North Florida a lot of credit. They played harder than we did,” Carey began. “They executed better than we did and played with more heart than we did.”

The Ospreys (2-2) never led and were outrebounded, 47-22.

WVU (3-0) shot 52.5 percent (31 of 59) from the field and senior point guard Chania Ray was three points shy of becoming the first WVU women’s player since 1987 to record a triple-double.

Ray finished with seven points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds.

“Chania wasn’t hitting her shot, but she’s so unselfish that she led us in rebounding and assists,” Carey said. “Those are the types of players you need in your program. It’s not all about scoring.

“Some of the other players, when they’re not hitting their shot, they don’t play defense or rebound, because they’re worried about them scoring.”

WVU’s defense was a sore spot in what was otherwise another blowout win.

“That team scored 59 points, but only had two assists. What does that tell you?” Carey said. “It tells you that they drove us straight to the rim. Our on-ball defense was terrible.

“We were lazy. We didn’t get to the ball. Our weakside defense was not there.”

A jump shot from North Florida’s Tiffany Tolbert cut WVU’s lead, 21-15, to start the second quarter.

The Mountaineers put the game out of reach with a 22-9 run over the next 8:27, that saw Katrina Pardee score nine of her 20 points, but WVU could not hide its lack of defense or keep its top players from getting in foul trouble.

“We knew that our defense wasn’t how it needs to be,” Pardee said. “We were getting drove on a lot in zone and in man. That’s not how we do it here.”

“We’ve got to take pride in our defense,” added WVU forward Teana Muldrow, who finished with 20 points and nine rebounds. “We’ve got to focus on helping each other more. Some of us aren’t that great guarding the ball. When we know that’s not one of our teammates’ strong point, we have to help them. We lacked that tonight.”

Kristina King, who picked up two early fouls and sat the bench for much of the first half, finished with 14 points and Naomi Davenport added 15.

The point Carey tries to drive home to his players is that better competition will be able to take advantage of the Mountaineers’ defensive miscues.

He hopes to get that point across before WVU travels to Melbourne, Fla., for this week’s Paradise Jam.

WVU will face Butler, at noon, on Thursday, before playing Drexel and Virginia Tech on Friday and Saturday.

“We’ve got a long way to go. We may get blown out down there,” Carey said. “Maybe that’s what we need to understand we’re not half as good as we think we are.”