WVU cagers on the road
MORGANTOWN -Both of West University’s basketball teams will hit the road today for key Big 12 matchups as the men’s team (11-8, 3-3 Big 12) travels to Gallagher Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., to take on No. 11 Oklahoma State (15-3, 3-2 Big 12), at 2 p.m. while Mike Carey’s No. 18 ranked women’s team (17-2, 6-1 Big 12) will be in Austin to face the Lady Longhorns of the University of Texas (12-6, 3-3 Big 12) at 4 p.m.
Both games will be rematches of earlier contests at the Coliseum in Morgantown. The Cowboys visited WVU on Jan. 11 and escaped with a 73-72 victory while WVU’s women needed overtime to get past Texas, 56-49, the following day.
Bob Huggins’ squad is coming off of an 87-81 home win over Texas Tech. guard Terry Henderson had a career-day against the Red Raiders, scoring a game-high 28 points to lead four Mountaineer players into double digits. Juwan Staten added 16 while Eron Harris and Morgantown native Nathan Adrian chipped in 15 and 10, respectively.
The Cowboys are led by preseason Player of the Year pick Marcus Smart. The sophomore leads the team in scoring (17.8 ppg) and averages 5.8 rebounds per game. Joining him in the expected starting lineup will be senior Markel Brown (16.6 ppg) and junior Brian Williams (8.1) at the guards while junior Le’Bryan Nash (13.3, 5.9 rpg) and sophomore Kamari Murphy (6.2) will man the forward positions.
WVU will, in all likelihood, will counter with Henderson (12.5 ppg), Harris (17.4) and Staten (17.2) at the guards and junior Kevin Noreen (2.1, 2.7 rpg) and freshman Devin Williams (9.5, 7.6 rpg) at the forwards.
That lineup could change, however, as junior Remi Dibo (7.1), Adrian (5.3), and freshman Brandon Watkins (3.1) have seen lots of playing time in place of Noreen and Williams while junior Gary Browne (6.2) could start at one of the guard spots.
Huggins is 1-5 all-time against the Cowboys, including this year’s earlier setback-won by OSU on a 3-pointer by Brown with 15 seconds remaining. Last year, the Cowboys had their way with WVU at home, winning by 14 points, 80-66.
The first meeting between the two schools took place at the Kentucky Invitational on Dec. 19, 1958. The then-No.7 ranked Mountaineers came away with a 67-49 victory.
It will be a different story, however, for Carey and the Mountaineer women.
In their first meeting with Texas, WVU had its worst shooting performance of the year, but used a 16-1 run over the final 3:30 of regulation to force overtime.
Last year, the Mountaineers suffered a 58-45 setback in Austin.
Carey’s projected starting lineup includes senior Asya Bussie (13.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg) at center, junior Averee Fields (7.4) and senior Christal Caldwell (12.2) at forwards, junior Linda Stepney (5.9) and sophomore Bria Holmes (13.6) at the guards.
Texas will counter with Nneka Enemkapli at forward, Imani McGee-Stafford at center, and Clina Rodrigo, Chassidy Fussell and Nadia Taylor. Reserve Empress Davenport came off of the bench in Morgantown to score 15 points in the overtime loss to the Mountaineers and should see plenty of playing time today.