Poore knows that following a win over Shepherd with a win at UC could kick-start a big run through the conference slate and said the key to getting there is to act like the game isn't a rivalry at all.
"I think in this game you've got to stay even keel and not get too high or too low or too pumped up," Poore said. "It's going to be an emotional rivalry game. UC-State always is. We've got to try and get our kids to battle and compete because we know Charleston is going to. I think we will. I think our team is coming together. We're nowhere close to where we need to be and want to be, but we're improving. This team has a chance to be pretty good at the end of the year."
First-year West Virginia State women's basketball coach David Smith is dealing with a problem not many coaches in the history of sports have had to contend with.
Too much experience.
That's because the 10-player Yellow Jackets roster is without a freshman or a sophomore, a fact illustrating a cupboard that was left beyond bare by the previous coaching regime.
On the other hand, maybe this group of juniors and seniors, who are by now well grounded in the cross-town rivalry between State and Charleston, will be more than ready to go as the two teams meet today at 4 p.m. at UC.
The Yellow Jackets (4-7, 4-4) started hot, winning their first three games before dropping seven in a row, a slide that ended Thursday in a 93-75 win over Shepherd.
"These kids are all new to me, and everything we do is new to them," Smith said. "It's a learning process and there's going to be ups and downs. We were shorthanded to begin with and we've been hit by injuries and illness and that hasn't helped us."
Indeed, State played Monday's game against West Virginia Wesleyan with just seven players, and although Jordan Brock returned in Thursday's game, her minutes were limited because of the flu.
Meanwhile, Charleston and fellow first-year coach Adam Collins have also been up and down this year, although the Golden Eagles roster is the complete opposite of State's in terms of experience.
Nine sophomores and a freshman make up the bulk of UC's roster, while guard Chrissy Keir is the team's only senior.
Still, UC (6-5, 3-4) has managed a winning record thanks in large part to a 4-1 mark at home, a fact not lost on Smith.
"They are really good at home," Smith said. "They shoot really well there and they put up a lot of points. We're going to have to be able to put points on the board to stay with them. They come at you with a lot of different players and good defense."
UC coach Adam Collins didn't return the Gazette-Mail's calls requesting an interview.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.