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A Look At The West Virginia Mountaineers

The Hartford Courant

Next meeting: The Huskies and West Virginia play their regular season game in Morgantown this season. The Huskies have won 22 of 23 between the teams, including the last 22 since West Virginia began the series with a 62-50 win in 1982. Last season, the Huskies won their two meetings by a combined 61 points, including a 60-32 victory in the Big East tournament championship game in Hartford.

Last season: West Virginia (29-6, 13-3) was ranked No. 16 in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and 10th in the final Associated Press poll. It was just the third time in school history the Mountaineers completed a season ranked in the final top 25 poll of both, the first since 1991-92.

The Mountaineers advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years. After defeating Lamar 58-43 in the first round in Austin, Texas, West Virginia, the third seed, fell to No. 11 San Diego State, 64-55.

West Virginia set numerous records, highlighted by the most wins ever in school history (29), its highest Big East finish (second) and the most conference wins (13) since joining the league in 1995-96.

The Mountaineers went 17-0 at home, setting a school record for home wins. They strung together 16 straight victories, the second-longest win streak in school history. The Mountaineers also advanced to the Big East tournament championship for just the second time in school history.Who's coming, who's going: The Mountaineers had no seniors, which should make them of the most experienced groups in the nation this season. They will be led by seniors Medina Ali and Liz Repella.

Ali started 34 of their 35 games, averaging 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. One of the team's two co-captains, Ali averaged 23.7 minutes and had 53 steals and 25 blocks. She reached double figures in scoring in seven games, recorded eight double-figure rebounding games with two double-doubles.

Repella has 68 career and consecutive starts and was named to the all-Big East first-team. She also was a WBCA all-Region I nominee for the State Farm Coaches All-America Team.

Repella, the other co-captain, averaged a team-best 13.9 points and was third in rebounds (5.9) steals (49) and assists (40). She recorded 28 double-figure games with seven 20-point games,. She enters her senior season with 1,141 career points, 21st all-time at WVU.

Repella also holds a 3.95 GPA in exercise physiology and was one of five student-athletes to be named an ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-American. Repella won the 2009 Big East Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence award for women's basketball and is a two-time academic all-district II first team honoree.

Coach Mike Carey added to his staff by hiring Jill Pizzotti as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator. Pizzotti served as Nike's manager of women's college basketball and Girl's Elite Youth basketball where she was the liaison between Nike and 90 percent of the Top 25 women's programs in the country. Pizzotti also was head women's basketball coach at St.Louis where she was the second-winningest coach in Billikens history and guided the program to its first postseason tournament appearance with the 2003 WNIT.

Guards Linda Stepney, Taylor Palmer and swing Crystal Leary head the incoming freshman class,

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