West Virginia women’s basketball head coach Mike Carey will lead his Mountaineers into his 21st season at the helm of the program and look to see if he can expand on the winning way’s he has had over the years.
432 career victories to be exact. That number marks Carey as the lead winningest coach in school history as the coach has reached levels at West Virginia that not many other women’s hoops coaches have been able to reach.
Heading into next week’s matchups and following a plethora of practicing, Carey has liked what he’s seen from his leaders on the team but also wants the team to understand it’s early in the season and there is still plenty of work to get done.
“I like our leadership, they’ve been great with the new players trying to help them because they want to win, they know what it takes to win and so they understand too we’re not where we need to be right now, and the veteran players understand that too,” Carey said. “The chemistry’s not there, the execution’s not there on either end and they understand.”
Carey emphasized how chemistry and breakdowns on defense need to be a large part of the Mountaineers attack strategy if they want to be more successful.
“Right now, the chemistry is not there, the shots, execution are not there, breakdowns on defense continue to happen,” Carey said. “It’s just not necessarily players that have been here, it’s the new players but we’ve got to continue to get better.”
A player who could make a drastic impact on the success of this year’s West Virginia’s team is senior guard Madisen Smith. That’s if she can come back from a leg injury she sustained back in February and prove to be a reliable tool in the Mountaineers arsenal.
“She’s a tough individual, she just goes at it, I didn’t know there was anything wrong with her until the trainer texted me because she won’t tell me nothing, she just wants to practice and play so she’s been a great leader, Madisen has,” Carey said.
Carey explained that he wants to see better spacing and zone mix on defense after watching his team struggle in that aspect of the game last season.
“I want to see better spacing on man and zone, people quit chasing the ball and do their job,” Carey said. “I asked the team yesterday on a made shot do you want to push the ball up? They said yeah so I showed them 10 clips, made shot we walked so make a decision, so they’ll either push the ball up or there will be consequences.”
The head coach has talked about how far his team has come through practice and how much more they need to prepare before their home opener against Saint Francis – PA next Tuesday and not just rely on pure talent.
“I really thought we’d be a little further along right now and we have talent, I told the team yesterday, talent doesn’t win, you can have all the talent in the world if you don’t play together, you don’t space, you don’t do the little things, you are not going to win,” Carey said”
The Mountaineers will tip off their regular season next Tuesday inside the Coliseum as the Red Flash of Saint Francis Pa. at 7 p.m. with televising on ESPN+.