June 1, 2016
Many expected the West Virginia University women’s basketball team to have a rebuilding year for the 2015-16 campaign after losing three valuable seniors and bringing in 11 newcomers.
However, coach Mike Carey’s squad once again exceeded a preseason pick of sixth place in the league and finished third in the Big 12 with the team’s 11th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Mountaineers capped the year at 25-10 overall and 12-6 in the Big 12 Conference for a third-place finish. West Virginia made its ninth NCAA Tournament Second Round appearance with eight of those coming under Carey’s watch.
Below are a few nuggets from the 2015-16 season.
Carey Sets Multiple Milestones
The 2015-16 season was a year of milestones for Carey, who entered his 15th season at the helm of the program. On November 24 in Spokane, Washington, the Mountaineers picked up a 68-50 win over Grand Canyon to mark Carey’s 300th career victory. Just two games later on December 2 in Morgantown, West Virginia dominated Morehead State, 94-56, for Carey’s 302nd victory. The win helped Carey surpass legendary coach Kittie Blakemore as WVU women’s basketball’s all-time wins leader. And finally on January 16, Carey registered his 600th career win as the Mountaineers toppled Kansas 72-35 in Morgantown. Carey had put together 288 wins in 13 seasons as the men’s coach at Salem International and has now amassed 322 victories at West Virginia in 15 seasons.
The Mountaineers completed the nonconference portion of the season with an 11-2 mark, including a nine-game win streak from November 24 to December 28. During that stretch, WVU netted its 11th consecutive Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic title over in-state foe Marshall, 66-60. Additionally, WVU shared the Florida Sunshine Classic tournament title in Winter Park, Florida, with Big 12 member Baylor after picking up wins over eventual NCAA Tournament participants Indiana and James Madison. With a win over Elon on Dec. 28, West Virginia recorded its 24th consecutive victory over a non-conference opponent at the WVU Coliseum.
Holmes Drafted by the Atlanta Dream
Holmes became the highest Mountaineer selected in the WNBA Draft with her 11th overall pick in in the first round in April 2016. The New Haven, Connecticut, native is also the highest draft pick selection for a Connecticut native player. Holmes finished her illustrious career at WVU with 2,001 points – the third most in program history. She became the first player at West Virginia to score 500 or more points in three consecutive seasons and ranks in WVU’s top-10 in 14 different statistical categories. She earned Senior CLASS Award Second-Team All-American honors, while picking up All-America Honorable Mention by the Associated Press and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Holmes was a three-time unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection. The 6-foot-1 guard led West Virginia with 16.8 points and 3.7 assists per game and tallied 589 points with 145 rebounds in 35 contests. With her 21 points against Ohio State on March 20, Holmes became the third Mountaineer in program history to reach the 2,000-point plateau.
– WVU recorded the program’s fifth overall 25-win campaign and the fourth under Carey.
– Finished 13-2 at home and owns a 182-46 (.798) record at home under Carey.
– WVU is 96-7 (93.2) against non-conference opponents since 2002.
– West Virginia has recorded 20 or more wins in nine of the last 11 seasons.
– WVU has won 80 percent or higher of its home games seven of the last eight years.
– Four crowds of 4,000+ watched WVU at the Coliseum this season: 5,080 vs. Oklahoma State (12th), 4,328 vs. Kansas State (17th), 4,168 vs. Baylor (18th) and 4,153 vs. Texas (21st).
– West Virginia finished No. 23 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and No. 25 in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Mountaineers have finished ranked in both polls for the fifth time in program history (2016, 2014, 2010, 2008 and 1992).
– West Virginia won an NCAA Statistical Award after leading the nation with 6.5 blocked shots per game.