The West Virginia women's basketball team officially opened practice today at the WVU Basketball Practice Facility.
"We're excited about the season. I'm glad it's here and we're getting started. I told them the other day when we had our last individual, practice time will separate playing time," coach Mike Carey says. "We'll see what happens in practice and where we go from there. It's nice to have 10 returners because they really know what's going on right now and they can help the freshmen. We went slower in the preseason in individual workouts with them and now in practice we don't have time to go slow."
Preparing for their inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference, the Mountaineer squad has 10 returning players and five newcomers, from a nationally-ranked recruiting class.
"Based off RPI, the Big 12 has been the best conference in the country," Carey says. "It's going to be a great challenge and we're looking forward to it. We have been fortunate enough to play a couple of the teams in the conference in recent years.
"There's a lot more size in the Big 12. Guards are a little bit taller and they have more shooters," Carey explains. "We're not going to change. We will continue to play the style we play."
Preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection Asya Bussie is the returning leading scorer as she averaged 12.1 points per game with 22 double-figure scoring efforts last season. Alongside Bussie, senior Ayana Dunning is WVU's leading rebounder as she averaged 8.4 boards per game, leading the Mountaineers in rebounding in 19 different games.
"We had great leadership this summer. Asya Bussie, YaYa Dunning and Jess Harlee did a great job in the offseason," Carey says. "I think we're in better shape and everyone is really positive. We have a great group of young ladies. We have veteran players back and I expect us to do the right things and go out and win a lot of basketball games."
The Mountaineers will face Concord in an exhibition game on Oct. 30 at the WVU Coliseum, with the season and home opener set for Nov. 9 against UNC Wilmington.