MORGANTOWN — By the time Teana Muldrow put the finishing touches on her 20-point, eight-rebound performance March 15, in the WVU women’s basketball team’s 83-50 victory against Bucknell, only one questioned remained.
It came — tongue in cheek, maybe — from WVU head coach Mike Carey, who had good friend and Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher sitting behind the Mountaineers’ bench.
“It was great to see Jimbo,” said Carey, noting the two grew up in Clarksburg together. “He’s the head coach at Texas A&M and he comes to our game. I haven’t seen Dana (Holgorsen, WVU football coach) at a game all year. Is that not amazing? I can get a guy from Texas, but I can’t get a guy to come from Cheat Lake. That’s amazing.”
Fisher was in Clarksburg visiting family and made a stop at the WVU Coliseum. He saw a WVU first-round victory in the WNIT that came rather easily in front of 1,509 fans.
WVU (22-11) shot 9 of 16 (56 percent) from 3-point range, the best the Mountaineers have shot behind the arc since beating Morgan State, on Dec. 18.
“We knew we were going to be in for a tough one, especially if we weren’t making shots,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “If they were going to shoot 65 percent from the field, which they were for a while, and go 9 of 16 from 3, they were already going to be a tough cover, but we had to hope they weren’t hitting shots, and they were.”
The Mountaineers advance to Sunday’s second round, where they will host St. Joseph’s (19-14), which knocked off Seton Hall, 75-57, on Wednesday.
The tip-off time will be announced today.
The two school’s haven’t met since 1995, but the Hawks won the last six meetings and own an 18-8 lead in the all-time series.
Carey said he waited to watch film of St. Joseph’s win over Seton Hall until after the Bucknell game.
“I don’t skip ahead,” Carey said. “Lord, the way this season has gone, I’m just worried about one game at a time.”
The Mountaineers used a mixture of accurate shots from the outside and power buckets in the paint.
Muldrow, who became WVU’s all-time leader in games played with her 139th appearance, had nine points in the first quarter, as WVU jumped out to a 22-12 lead and never looked back.
WVU never seemed to play as a team disappointed about getting snubbed by the NCAA tournament.
Carey said he left the decision to play in the WNIT to his seniors, who said it was an easy one: Keep going.
“Never playing wasn’t an option,” said WVU point guard Chania Ray, who added 12 points, five assists and four rebounds. “We just want to continue to play as a team. We thought, ‘Let’s go win this now.’ We’re going to do everything we can and give it our all. Right now, it’s all or nothing.”
Kristina King added 13 points and Katrina Pardee scored 11, as WVU took a 39-point lead with 5:12 remaining.
“I thought we looked a little slow,” Carey said, “but we did enough to get the win.”