Mike Carey is accountable for main West Virginia’s girls’s basketball program to 11 of its 13 NCAA Event appearances.
But beneath Carey, the Mountaineers have by no means reached the Candy 16, one thing fourth-seeded West Virginia hopes to alter at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when it battles No. 5 seed Georgia Tech at UTSA Convocation Heart. The sport will air on ESPNU.
“It’s necessary, not simply due to previous groups, however due to this crew,” Carey mentioned. “This crew needs to win and this crew has performed extraordinarily exhausting and with a variety of coronary heart the entire yr. They deserve it. Hopefully we will play properly and get the win.”
The Mountaineers (22-6) enter off a 77-53 win over Lehigh in Sunday’s NCAA Event opener. WVU took a 36-26 lead into halftime, earlier than outscoring the Mountain Hawks 29-13 within the third quarter to place the sport out of attain.
Guard Kysre Gondrezick scored 26 factors to surpass 1,000 for her West Virginia profession. Gondrezick, who made six three-pointers, additionally added seven rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.
Whereas assuming WVU’s level guard duties rather than the injured Madisen Smith, Gondrezick continues to steer the Mountaineers offensively.
“She will put up the numbers and when she will get scorching and will get in rhythm, she’s powerful to protect,” Carey mentioned.
Additionally within the victory over Lehigh, KK Deans completed 19 factors, eight rebounds, 5 assists and three steals, whereas Esmery Martinez chipped in with a double double of 16 factors and 11 boards.
West Virginia has performed its final eight video games with out start line guard Madisen Smith, however she may return from an harm suffered within the crew’s win over TCU on Feburary 20.
“(Athletic coach Travis Randolph) let her go dwell (Monday) and really she appeared fairly good,” Carey mentioned. “In fact her conditioning shouldn’t be there. I requested her afterwards how she felt and mentioned, ‘inform me the reality,’ as a result of she actually needs to play. We’ll see what occurs.”
Whereas the Mountaineers received their NCAA Event opener comfortably, Georgia Tech (16-8) fought its means again from a 17-point halftime deficit to edge Stephen F. Austin in additional time, 54-52.
The Yellow Jackets rallied thanks largely to their protection, which restricted the Ladyjacks to 18 whole factors after halftime. It was Georgia Tech’s first recreation since a loss to North Carolina State within the ACC Event again on March 6.
“Anytime you play within the NCAA Event, that first recreation might be essentially the most troublesome one,” GT coach Nell Fortner mentioned. “You’re getting your bearings and discovering your means a little bit bit. Stephen F. Austin is a a lot better crew than their seed represented. They performed extraordinarily exhausting and executed extraordinarily properly offensively.
“We’re a crew that by no means stops or offers up and we fought our means again and eventually began pulling down some photographs after we needed to have them.”
Lotta-Maj Lahtinen and Lorela Cubaj scored 14 factors apiece for GT, whereas Kierra Fletcher added 11. Cubaj had a team-high 10 rebounds and Fletcher added 9.
Cubaj (6-foot-4) and Nerea Hermosa (6-5) present the Yellow Jackets with loads of top within the put up.
“They’ve good measurement. They’re 6-5 and 6-4 inside which is one thing we’ve seen all yr,” Carey mentioned. “They’ve a pair shooters on the perimeter and a pair athletes. However we’re not actual deep and neither are they, so no matter 5 or 6 gamers play the very best may have a possibility to win the sport.”
The winner of Tuesday’s matchup will tackle the winner of high seed South Carolina vs. No. 8 seed Oregon State within the Candy 16.
The Yellow Jackets are 5-5 of their final 10 video games. Georgia Tech and West Virginia didn’t have a typical opponent this season and haven’t performed since 2003. WVU has received each earlier conferences.
“The crew numbers are type of comparable for those who take a look at discipline objective proportion and three-point proportion,” Fletcher mentioned. “We will depend on our protection. I feel we match up very well with them so it’ll be an fascinating recreation.”
West Virginia’s solely earlier Candy 16 look got here in 1992, when the NCAA Event consisted of solely 32 groups.