#26 West Virginia Women's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers

Overall Rank: #26
Conference Rank# 5 Big 12 Conference
#26 West Virginia Women's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview
West Virginia Team Page


The West Virginia had an up and down first season in the Big 12 Conference but still found a way to scratch and claw their way into the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers return a ton of experience with four starters. They also are looking to be healthier as Asya Bussie returns from redshirting last season after suffering a season ending knee injury in the second practice of the season last fall. The Mountaineers should be loaded nicely for a run at an upper division conference finish.

2012-13 Record:  17-14, 9-9
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Carey, 13th season
Coach Record: 244-141 at West Virginia, 532-243 overall

The defense is always pretty stout under veteran head coach Mike Carey. The Mountaineers usually make their opponent earn everything offensively by causing turnovers and not allowing teams to have too many easy opportunities. Last season West Virginia did a pretty good job defensively as they caused more turnovers than they committed and they held their own without Bussie on the boards with a plus rebound margin of 1.7. Offensively, Christal Caldwell, an All-Big 12 senior, will be the sparkplug for the offense as she scored over 13 points per game last season. Caldwell also shot well from three point range, making over 35 percent of her shots from behind the arc. The return of Jess Harlee to full strength should also help West Virginia be more balanced and be able to beat teams from the outside and down low with Bussie’s experience and offensive capabilities to score consistently.

The Mountaineers really felt the loss of Bussie down in the low blocks as they struggled at times to score consistently inside. This allowed teams to dare West Virginia to beat them from the perimeter and the Mountaineers then only ended up shooting just over 30 percent from three point range last season. The return of Bussie, along with the continued development of players like Linda Stepney distributing the basketball and creating more open looks, will be a huge key in addressing the shooting issues that the Mountaineers had last season from the perimeter. They also need to address the foul shooting as they shot just under 65 percent. If West Virginia can elevate this percentage by five percentage points or more, it should allow them to win more close games and safely contend for the Big 12 Conference championship.

Final Projection:
The Mountaineers have a non-conference schedule that should allow them to get out of the blocks pretty quickly this season. The two biggest tests for West Virginia before Big 12 play will be the opener on November 8 when Ohio State comes to Morgantown. The other test will be another home game against Virginia on November 24. The ability to get wins in these games should be significant confidence boosters in getting the Mountaineers ready for Big 12 conference play. The conference schedule is pretty action packed as well. The Baylor Bears will come to Morgantown on January 8. This matchup will be very intriguing as the Bears will be dealing with life after Brittney Griner. West Virginia should be able to attack the inside more often without Griner to cause havoc in the paint. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be two other significant challenges during Big 12 play for the Mountaineers. The bottom line is going to be staying healthy and learning from last year’s first time through the big 12. If they can do that then West Virginia should contend for a Big 12 Championship.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA  

Projected Starting Five:
Linda Stepney, Junior, Guard, 3.0 points per game
Christal Caldwell, Senior, Guard, 13.1 points per game
Taylor Palmer, Senior, Guard, 9.9 points per game
Averee Fields, Junior, Forward, 7.8 points per game
Asya Bussie, Redshirt Senior, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.8 (127th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.7 (149, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 38.2 (190, 8)
Field-Goal Defense:  38.5 (167, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (107, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.7 (134, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.7 (286, 10)
Rebound Margin: 1.7. (121, 5)
Assists Per Game: 12.1 (214, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.6 (151, 8)


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