Looking back on the 2010-11 season, the West Virginia women’s basketball team has much to point to with pride.
From its 16-0 start, the best in program history, to its fourth NCAA second round appearance in the last five seasons, the Mountaineers have reached new heights.
Before even stepping foot on the hardwood, the Mountaineers earned a preseason No. 11 ranking in The Associated Press poll, another first for the program.
In the first tournament of the season, the Paradise Jam, the Mountaineers went undefeated with victories over No. 21 TCU, Virginia and No. 19 Iowa State for the tournament title. Senior guard Liz Repella earned Paradise Jam Island Division MVP and was also added to the all-star team alongside fellow co-captain Madina Ali.
West Virginia returned to the WVU Coliseum to see five attendance figures rank in the top-20 all-time at the Coliseum. Although WVU’s 31-game home court winning streak came to an end on Feb. 5, the Mountaineers still went 8-0 against non-conference opponents at home and hold a 30-3 home court record over the past two seasons.
WVU spent nearly the entire season in the national rankings, 18 straight weeks, reaching as high as No. 6 in the AP poll, another milestone. The Mountaineers spent four straight weeks at its highest-ever ranking.
Known for its defensive mindset under head coach Mike Carey, WVU held 31 of 34 opponents under 50 percent shooting and all but 10 opponents under 60 points. Its scoring defense was ranked best in the nation for five-straight weeks and never left the top 10.
Amassing a 24-10 overall record, the Mountaineers recorded their sixth 20-win season in the last eight years. Carey saw his 200th win at the helm of the program with a 90-79 victory at Pitt on Feb. 19, 2011; he now sits just seven victories away from his 500th career victory.
Seniors Repella and Sarah Miles have been a part of 96 victories in their four-year careers. Fellow classmates Korinne Campbell, Vanessa House and Ali were key players in recording the most wins in two seasons in program history, compiling a 53-15 (.779) record over the last two seasons.
WVU finished 10th in the BIG EAST, recording an 8-8 mark in conference play. Repella, who finished her career sixth in school history in scoring with 1,641 points, earned all-BIG EAST first team honors for the second consecutive season, while Ali earned her first-ever all-BIG EAST honor as she was named to the second team.
The Mountaineers were knocked out of the BIG EAST championship in the second round, but were able to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament as a No. 9 seed. The Mountaineers made their fifth NCAA appearance in the last eight seasons and defeated Houston 79-73 to advance to the second round. Baylor put a stop to the Mountaineers’ run on its home court, defeating WVU 82-68.
Although the NCAA run for the West Virginia women’s basketball team was ended early, looking back, there is still so much for the Mountaineers to be proud of.
By Katie Kane
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter