The Dominion Post  

Carey wants WVU to stress defense

Created on:   Tue, Nov 21, 2017   10:06 PM

Last modified:   Tue, Nov 21, 2017   10:06 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — The 11th-ranked WVU women’s basketball team gathered at its practice facility on Nov. 21 after a disappointing performance in an 87-59 conquest of North Florida, on Sunday afternoon.

In reality, the Mountaineers (3-0) could have worked out in the Coliseum parking lot.

WVU coach Mike Carey had no use for baskets that day.

“We didn’t take a shot,” he said Tuesday morning. “We worked all defense. We have to get better at it.”

Nearly 48 hours after the North Florida game, Carey was still fuming over his players’ effort in their man-to-man defense.

“We definitely didn’t play West Virginia defense,” WVU forward Teana Muldrow said.

Carey said so in much stronger terms Tuesday.

“Terrible,” he said. “It’s a matter of not concentrating and not communicating, a total lack of concentration by our new players. We were out of position the whole night.

“In my 16 years here, I’ve never seen somebody get so many wide-open layups on us. It was all from the weak-side and communication on getting to the ball. The rotations were unbelievably bad.”

Senior point guard Chania Ray wasn’t shocked when Carey dedicated Monday’s practice to defense.

“I expected it,” Ray said. “It was necessary, too. We all have to help out each other on the defensive end and play team defense. At the end of the day, defense wins games.”

The Mountaineers easily handled their first three foes, prevailing by an average of 44 points per contest.

Carey doesn’t expect that type of domination to continue, as WVU heads to Melbourne, Fla., for the three-game Paradise Jam, at Eastern Florida State College.

WVU faces Butler, at noon Thursday, before tangling with Drexel, at 3:30 p.m. Friday, and Virginia Tech, at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Drexel and Virginia Tech are coming off 20-victory seasons. Butler went 6-25 but is off to its best start since 1990, at 3-1.

Carey intends to make certain his players understand they must improve.

“Counting the exhibition game, we’ve played four games and a scrimmage, so these players need to start getting this a little bit or we’re going to be in trouble,” he said.

“We could be in trouble this weekend. If we play like we did against North Florida, we won’t win a game down there.”

Muldrow believes the defensive shortcomings are easily fixed.

“Just playing hard and rotating to the ball and trusting each other more on defense,” she said. “We have to trust that our weak-side help is there and go to the ball.”

The Paradise Jam is usually played in the Virgin Islands, but the tournament was moved to sites in Melbourne and Washington, D.C., after Hurricane Irma struck in September.

The Mountaineers plan to visit Universal Studios, in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday before returning to Morgantown.

WVU moved up two spots to No. 13 in the USA Today sports coaches top 25 poll, released Tuesday