West Virginia Women’s Basketball enters this season under new head coach Mark Kellogg, the third head coach in as many years. Kellogg carries a history of success as a head coach, while he looks to continue that level of success with the Mountaineers.
Kellogg is entering his first season as head coach West Virginia after Dawn Plitzuweit left for the same position at Minnesota after she took the Mountaineers to the NCAA Tournament last season.
Kellogg was previously the head coach at Stephen F. Austin from 2015-2023. During his time there, he finished with a 195-55 record and had seven consecutive seasons with 23 or more wins.
West Virginia finished the 2022-23 season with a 19-12 record and finished the season with an opening round loss to Arizona in the NCAA Tournament. They will look to continue their winning ways with Kellogg never having a losing season as a head coach.
“I was the third coach in three years so that’s not the ideal situation for these guys,” Mark Kellogg said at the Big 12 Tipoff Event.
In preseason, West Virginia was selected to finish eighth in the Big 12 Preseason Poll. The conference also features four newcomers who are all ranked in the bottom four in the Big 12 Poll.
“I think we could have been picked a little higher, based on how they finished last year, and with what we return. Now, new coach so who knows how people look at that one,” Kellogg said.
Guard JJ Quinerly was a unanimous selection on the All-Big 12 First Team as well as a selection on the All-Defensive Team in 2022-23. Quinerly returns for her junior season.
Madisen Smith, who exhausted her eligibility, was an honorable mention on last season’s All-Big 12 list.
Smith is the lone regular starter from a season ago not to return for this season. Guards Kyah Watson and Jayla Hemmingway, along with forward Kylee Blacksten all return for this season in addition to Quinerly.
Messiah Hunter and Tavy Diggs, who were both bench pieces a season ago, both return as well.
A pair of Kellogg’s former players at Stephen F. Austin were added via the transfer portal in guards Zya Nugent and Jordan Harrison.
West Virginia has also picked up Arizona’s Lauren Fields, Purdue’s Ainhoa Holzer, Oral Roberts’s Tirzah Moore, South Plains’s Ashala Moseberry, and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M’s Danelle Arigbabu from the transfer portal.
West Virginia wants to be a team that presses on defense a lot. Mark Kellogg discussed this at the Big 12 Tipoff Event.
“We do like to press and we mix up our defenses quite a bit and then offensively we hope it’s free flowing and allow some of that offense to come from that defense in some of the pressure so that’s what it should look like,” Kellogg said. “It’s still a work in progress and we’re working through that right now but that will be our identity, that will be our stamp.”
West Virginia will open up the season on Tuesday, No. 7 against Loyola Maryland. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers also have Pitt and Penn State as non-conference opponents on their schedule. They are also slated to play in the San Juan Shootout over Thanksgiving weekend.
West Virginia opens up conference play on Saturday, Dec. 30 on the road against Kansas. With the expanded conference, the Mountaineers will play some teams twice in the regular season, while playing other teams only once.
The Big 12 Tournament will take place from March 7-12 at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, with the NCAA Tournament to follow if the Mountaineers were to qualify.