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Carey, WVU Women Look to Prove Big 12 Wrong

By JIM BUTTA

MORGANTOWN — Ever since arriving in Morgantown prior to the start of the 2001-02 campaign, Clarksburg native Mike Carey has known nothing but success at West Virginia.

And, despite the loss of Bria Holmes, the team’s top point producer a year ago, to the WNBA, Carey and the Mountaineers find themselves again ranked among the top programs in the country — No. 22 in the preseason AP Poll – and the Big 12 Conference – No. 4 preseason finish.

“We’re excited to get going,” said Carey, who is in his 16th season at the helm of the program. “We have a lot of returners back. We’re a little thin on the perimeter at the guard position. But, I’ve been through this before.”

Injuries have already claimed the seasons of junior Aisha Edwards and freshmen Krystaline McCune and Nia Staples.

“With the injury to Aisha we are going to have to see who will be our backup at point. Right now, Alexis (Brewer) probably is our best option,” Carey said.

Holmes capped a brilliant career in Morgantown by becoming the program’s highest WNBA draft pick with her 11th overall selection in the first round by the Atlanta Dream. The New Haven, Conn., product ranks third on the Mountaineers’ all-time scoring list with 2,001 points and ranks in WVU’s top 10 in multiple statistical categories.

Looking to pick up the scoring slack created by Holmes departure will be senior Lanay Montgomery, junior Teana Muldrow and sophomore Tynice Martin.

Montgomery was named to the 2015-16 Big 12 All-Defensive Team and garnered All-Big 12 Honorable second team accolades after blocking 97 shots and averaging 8.1 rebounds and 8.2 points as WVU finished 25-10 overall and 12-6 in league play. Also hauling in some postseason laurels back to Morgantown was Martin, who averaged 10.3 points per game, as the Atlanta native earned Freshman of the Year and was a finalist forNational Freshman of the Year.

“The pieces are there,” Carey said. “But, we still have a lot of improving to do if we want to compete with the top programs in our conference.”

Rounding out the team’s roster is senior Desiree Rhodes, juniors Kristina King and Chania Ray, sophomores Anja Martin and Katrina Pardee and freshmen Marlena Schmidt and Bailey Thomas.

Pardee started all 35 games a year ago, averaging 5.9 points while dishing out 31 assists. The 5-foot-9 guard also lead the team at the free throw line — making 18 of 21 attempts for 85.7 percent.

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