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West Virginia Hopes To Continue Winning In New Conference
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Story line
West Virginia would have had five starters returning this season but in the second day of practice Asya Bussie, a 6-4 senior center, suffered an ACL injury and will miss the season. Last season Bussie averaged 12.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Ayana Dunning, a 6-3 center, is the only other senior on the roster and will be counted on to handle the inside scoring and rebounding. A nationally ranked recruiting class should help bolster the roster.

Coach: Mike Carey, 227-127 in 11 seasons.
Last season: 24-10 overall, 11-5, tied for 5th in Big East Conference.
NCAA Tournament: Lost in 2nd round.

Top players
Junior guard Christal Caldwell (10.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg), senior center Ayana Dunning (9 ppg, 9.4 rpg); junior forward Jess Harlee (6.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg); junior guard Taylor Palmer (10.6 ppg), sophomore guard Linda Stepney (4.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg), sophomore forward Averee Fields.

Coach Carey says
"It's never a good time to have a player go down. Asya Bussie was our leading shot blocker, second leading rebounder, gave us size. But she went down in the second day of practice, and it's never good for that to happen. But at least it happened early, and the players have been able to respond and learn new roles. Where a lot of times we counted on Asya to do a lot of things and now somebody else has to pick that up. Since it was early, we are starting to learn roles."

Notable
West Virginia has played just 11 games in its history against current Big 12 schools, but one of them was last season in the NCAA tournament, as the Mountaineers got a first-round victory over Texas before falling to Stanford - a team that reached the Final Four. ... The Mountaineers have made eight postseason appearanecs in the last nine years, including three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances - the first time the school has had such a streak. ... West Virginia has posted seven 21-win seasons in the last nine years. ... Last season the Mountaineers knocked off second-ranked Notre Dame - the team that Baylor defeated in the national championship game. It was the highest-ranked opponent that West Virginia has defeated.

Season opener
Nov. 9 UNC Wilmington

Top nonconference games
Nov. 23 vs. LSU
Dec. 2 at Virginia
Dec. 4 vs. Marshall

Conference opener
Jan. 2 at Oklahoma

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