MORGANTOWN — While the WVU men’s basketball team is battling the flu bug, women’s head coach Mike Carey said that his team has been going through sickness most of this season.
“We’ve been hit with that all year, not just right now,” he said Friday. “We’re fighting it no more now than we have been. I learned a long time ago that you can’t use that as an excuse. You just have to play with what you have, win with what you have and be happy with what you have.”
Sick or not, the Mountaineers will take on Oklahoma on Feb. 3, in Norman, looking to get back on track after falling short against No. 3 Baylor.
The Sooners (11-11, 5-5) bring a different approach offensively than the Bears did. Baylor used its size to dominate the paint, while O.U. use the perimeter with the ability to shoot the 3 with a four-guard starting lineup.
The Sooners are just behind WVU (17-5, 5-5) for sixth in the conference in points per game, with 76.3, and are fifth in field goal percentage, at 44 percent.
“They can shoot the 3, plus taking you off the dribble,” Carey said. “Overall, they have a lot of people who can score and they have a go-to person in the paint.”
Vionise Pierre-Louis is the big in the middle, leading the Sooners in scoring, with 15.1 points per game. Her ability to score has opened up opportunities outside when the defense decides to collapse. The rest of the starting lineup are all averaging over 10 points per game, Gabbi Ortiz (13.1), Shaina Pellington (13), Ana Llanusa (12.4) and Maddie Manning (12).
“We have to contest their 3s but we also have to prevent them from getting into the middle of our paint off the dribble,” Carey said. “They like to attack, you help, and then they kick it out for a wide open 3. We have to be aware and take care of that.”
Where the Sooners struggle is on the defensive end, sitting near the bottom of the conference in points allowed and opponent field goal percentage. The Mountaineers’ offense has picked up the last three games.
Teana Muldrow and Naomi Davenport each scored 20 points in the loss to Baylor, the fifth time WVU has had two 20-point scorers in one game and the first since Dec. 28.