MORGANTOWN — Mike Carey’s reaction needed only one word: “Wow.”
The reaction was similar around the Big 12 following TCU’s 79-77 upset win against No. 7 Texas, on Jan. 10.
The win ended the Horned Frogs’ (11-5, 2-3 Big 12) 22-game losing skid against top 10 teams.
“They were 9 of 11 from 3 and played pretty good defense and rebounded the ball,” Carey said. “Needless to say, they’re playing a lot better right now.”
Just in time for TCU to visit the WVU Coliseum, at 5 p.m. Jan. 13.
Neither team will look like it did two weeks ago, when the Mountaineers (15-2, 3-2) traveled to TCU and came away with an 87-82 victory.
“They changed their starting lineup and they’re playing a lot better defense,” Carey said. “They’re rebounding the ball better and their shot selection is much better.”
Against Texas, TCU inserted 6-foot-1 senior guard Sydney Coleman into the starting lineup for Amber Ramirez.
With Ramirez and teammate Amy Okonkwo, the Horned Frogs now have about 29 points per game coming off the bench.
Okonkwo leads TCU in scoring, at 16.8 points per game. TCU “made a lot of 3s and shot the ball well,” Carey said. “Texas shot a lot of 3s and didn’t make them. We’ve all been there. It was close in the fourth quarter and so it becomes anyone’s game.”
WVU, too, will look different, now that senior forward Kristina King is back in the 15th-ranked Mountaineers’ lineup.
King missed five games with a broken foot, but played in WVU’s last two games while using a steel plate in her right shoe.
She grabbed 12 rebounds in WVU’s 74-54 victory against Kansas, on Wednesday.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s your leading scorer or not, it’s a piece of chemistry that isn’t there,” Carey said. King “had 12 rebounds for us. Well, we weren’t getting that while she was out. She also does a good job on dribble penetration, which we didn’t have while she was out. She really helps us out a lot.”
A key to the game may be whether or not WVU can outlast TCU’s ability to score in bunches.
Against Texas, the Longhorns outscored TCU in three quarters, but the Horned Frogs’ 26-9 advantage in the second quarter was the difference.
In the first game against WVU, TCU and the Mountaineers teamed for 60 points in the final quarter.
“It’s a lot of transition,” Carey said. “If you turn the ball over, they’re really good at going the other way, because they have people who can run the floor, including their center.”
The game has been designated a “Gold Rush,” and fans are encouraged to wear gold. The first 500 fans receive vouchers for a free “Beat TCU” T-shirt. Vouchers can be redeemed at halftime at the Gold gate.