MORGANTOWN, W.Va — After a 4-0 start to this season, the West Virginia women’s basketball team has lost each of its last two games.
The Mountaineers have been limited to just 57 and 60 points in those two losses, respectively, and are coming off a 23-point loss to No. 16 Kentucky.
Longtime head coach Mike Carey said Monday that he’s looking for more scoring out of his team. He’s hoping to see more energy from his players as well.
“We need our key players to step up,” Carey said. “Not only just playing-wise, but leadership-wise.”
KK Deans has been the go-to leader for the Mountaineers this year.
The junior guard is averaging a team-best 15.8 points per game. She leads WVU in minutes played, made 3-pointers and free throw percentage, and is tied for the team lead with 14 steals.
However, she may not be able to play Tuesday night against visiting Charlotte due to an ankle injury.
“Just so you know, we’re not 100 percent, because she sprained her ankle in the Kentucky game, and has not been in practice,” Carey said. “[Deans] has not practiced with us. Did a little shooting yesterday, and then today probably try to do a little bit more. Range of motion is getting better, but we’ll see where she’s at. If it’s not where it needs to be, then we won’t play her.”
Deans suffered the injury in the third quarter of last Wednesday’s game in Lexington. She was able to return to the game, and wound up playing more minutes than all but two WVU players.
Deans scored five of her team-high 20 points after suffering the injury. That included converting on an and-one opportunity after she was fouled on a layup in the fourth quarter.
But if she isn’t able to play Tuesday, Carey will need the rest of the team to replace her production.
“I just want to see better execution on both ends,” Carey said. “And I want to see our bench come in and play with energy. I want to see our bench excited again.”
The head coach noted that he’s still figuring out the proper rotations and minutes for each player. With as many newcomers as he has, and the depth that he finds himself with this year, the non-conference schedule provides him with the opportunity to figure those things out.
“It’s still early. It’s still really early,” he said Monday. “When you bring that many players in, you’re going to have some growing pains.”
West Virginia looks to put an end to its two-game losing streak Tuesday night at home against the Charlotte 49ers.
After Tuesday, the Mountaineers won’t play at home again until December 29.