Mountaineers host St. Joseph’s in WNIT

MORGANTOWN — St. Joseph’s will bring an experienced and talented roster along with an accomplished coach with 356 wins and 12 postseason appearances into the March 18 second-round WNIT match-up against WVU.

The game will tip off at 2 p.m., at the WVU Coliseum.

What the Hawks (19-14) won’t have is a Power 5 conference attached to their school, and that’s something the Mountaineers (22-11) may have to be wary of in the WNIT.

That’s because affiliation means very little to WVU coach Mike Carey, who has made a point to his players that no one is to be overlooked.

“You see what’s going on with this tournament, you can’t go [by conferences],” said Carey, who is 367-193 in his 17th season with the Mountaineers. “I saw that we had Seton Hall right there [in WVU’s bracket] and Penn State. They were at home and got beat. That’s why you can’t take any of these teams for granted.

“That’s what happens. You think you’re playing at home and you’re in a Power 5, and they come in and beat you.”

It’s a situation WVU could face a number of times if the Mountaineers continue to advance. Going by simple projections, WVU may not face another team from a Power 5 conference until the Final Four.

In the 16 second-round games of the WNIT, only one features two Power 5 teams — Kansas State vs. Utah — facing each other.

The Hawks advanced to the finals of the Atlantic 10 tournament and won nine of their last 11 games.

St. Joseph’s knocked off Seton Hall, 75-57, in the first round of the WNIT.

“They’re hungry to prove a point playing in the WNIT,” Carey continued. “Hopefully, our players understand that. St. Joseph’s is a good offensive team and they play hard. They can come in here and beat you if you’re not ready to play.”

St. Joseph’s and WVU have not met since 1995, when both schools were members of the Atlantic 10. The Hawks won the last six meetings and hold an 18-8 series lead.

An experienced lineup led by senior forward Chelsea Woods (15.4 ppg), includes two graduate transfers, a senior and two juniors in the starting five.

Point guard Alyssa Monaghan has 56 3-pointers on the season.

Woods “is legit,” Carey said. “She’s a really good player. Their point guard is a good player. They bring their center up high and she likes to distribute the ball.

“If you look, they have two fifth-year seniors and a bunch of juniors. They have one freshman, so they are a veteran team.”

The winner will advance to the third round and will face the winner of the Radford-James Madison game, which was played late Saturday.

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