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What do Mountaineers want for Christmas?

With Christmas Eve upon us, the Mountaineers have made their wish lists for Santa Clause who has been checking his list twice and giving coal to all the bad Pitt fans out there.

The list begins with the West Virginia football team which travels to Phoenix, Arizona on Christmas day in preparation for the Guaranteed Rate Bowl next Tuesday.

Neal Brown wants a fifth straight bowl game victory in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl next week

West Virginia has now appeared in a bowl game for two seasons under head coach Neal Brown. Before arriving in Morgantown, Brown won three straight bowl games with Troy which included a pair of victories in the Dollar General Bowl in 2016 and 2018 and the New Orleans Bowl in 2017.

Not much changed last season when West Virginia made their first bowl game appearance under Brown in the Liberty Bowl and knocked off Army in Memphis, 24-21. Brown looks to keep the four game bowl winning streak alive when his team takes on Minnesota in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on Tuesday from Chase Field in Pheonix, Arizona.

Mike Carey wants his team to quit turning the ball over

The Mountaineer women’s basketball team has turned the ball over on average 17.7 times per game this season and that has head coach Mike Carey worried.

“We can’t turn it over 20 sometimes per game, you just can’t overcome that with your defense and scoring so it’s going to depend on that and we’re going to have to take care of the basketball,” explained Carey last Tuesday. “If you cut those in half they’re not going to get as many fast break points and then we’ve still got to hit shots, but it still gives us opportunities.”

It doesn’t help when the teams you’re playing against take advantage of the turnovers and score on average 14.1 points per game off turnovers. The most recent obvious example of this was in the first game of the West Palm Beach Invitational this week when the Mountaineers turned the ball over 14 times in a 22-point loss to No. 16 South Florida, 77-55.

Bob Huggins wants his team to make free throws

Huggins 2021 squad has gotten off to a strong start beginning the season at 11-1 before the Christmas break but there is still one area of the team the head coach would like to see cleaned up. That is at the free throw line where West Virginia shoots a miserable 45 percent. That’s an area of the game that should be an easy gimme points-wise especially when shooting the ball from deep near three.

Fifth year senior guard Taz Sherman leads the way for West Virginia at the line shooting a 77.9 charity stripe percentage. Only four Mountaineers sit above 60 percent at the free throw line and one of them only has two shots made for two shots attempted in freshman guard Seth Wilson.

Randy Mazey wants another top notch starting pitcher like Alek Manoah or Jackson Wolf

After ace left handed pitcher Jackson Wolf was selected by the San Diego Padres in the MLB Draft over the summer, West Virginia will now look to another arm to be the key piece of their starting rotation. It’s hard to replace an arm which pitched to the tune of a 3.03 ERA and collected six wins but that’s what Mazey and his staff must now do. Wolf was the closest to what current Toronto Blue Jay Alek Manoah did in his time at West Virginia shortly before Wolf.

Nikki Izzo-Brown wants her senior class to stay another year in Morgantown

Izzo-Brown’s team enjoyed another successful campaign in 2021 reaching the second round of the Big 12 Championship mainly behind the play of her seniors. Three of the top six Mountaineer goal scorers this year were seniors in defender Jordan Brewster, forward Lauren Segalla and midfielder Isabella Sibley.

Luckily Izzo-Brown has a strong core of younger players on her team, but this senior class is undoubtedly one of the best as Brewster earned All-Big 12 First Team honors while Segalla led the team in scoring with six goals on the season.

Photo by Bryan Dougherty, Blue Gold Sports

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