Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

March 17, 2014

WVU women enter NCAAs as a No. 2 seed

— Mike Carey has made NCAA Tournament appearances a tradition since taking over the women’s basketball program at West Virginia University in 2002.

Now he wants to start a new tradition of advancing a little deeper.

Carey’s club will be dancing for the fifth straight season and 10th in program history after receiving a No. 2 seed Monday night during the selection show.

WVU (29-4), which tied with Baylor for the Big 12 regular season title and lost to the Bears in the conference championship game, ended the regular season ranked No. 7 in the country and believes it has a team that can make a deep run.

“Without a doubt, we’re the highest seed we’ve ever been since I’ve been here,” said Carey, who will be participating in his eighth NCAA Tournament but has never been past the second round. “But that doesn’t absolutely mean you’re going to win. We’re going to have to go there and play well.

“We have to start doing better in the NCAA Tournament, and hopefully this will be the year we start doing that.”

The path won’t be easy. The Mountaineers open with 15th-seeded Albany (N.Y.) at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.

The Great Danes (28-4) are the America East champions and are making their third appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

“Right now, I don’t know much about them,” said Carey. “We’ll see what their weaknesses are. We have to worry about the first game. We have to worry about Albany. But we’re going in with a lot of confidence.”

After that opener, the path gets even tougher. If WVU can get past Albany, it will face the winner between seventh-seeded LSU and 10th-seeded Georgia Tech. If it’s LSU, that game will take place on the Tigers’ home floor.

A win there, and WVU would move into the Sweet 16 in Louisville. Its potential opponent, of course, is No. 3 seed Louisville.

“It is what it is,” said Carey of the potential of having to beat two lower seeds on their home floors just to get to the regional final, pointing out that his team is 11-1 in road games this season. “When you get into the second and third rounds, you’re going to play good teams. You’d rather not play them on their home floor, but it is what it is.

“We got a lot of respect from the committee. I thought that was good. But you’d rather not play back-to-back on home floors.”

Sunday’s game, the first-ever meeting between WVU and Albany, will air live on ESPN. A victory would give the Mountaineers a program record for most wins in a season.

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herlad.com

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