After a 16-0 start, the WVU women's basketball team has stumbled as of late, finding itself in the midst of a 4-4 stretch, including three losses in its last four games.
But if the Mountaineers were looking for any relief on the schedule, they sure won't find it today.
In a rematch of last year's Big East championship game, No. 17 West Virginia will take on No. 2 Connecticut, with tipoff set for 7 p.m. at the Coliseum.
The ranking beside West Virginia's name will not be a source of intimidation for the Huskies (22-1 overall, 10-0 Big East). UConn has beaten eight ranked opponents already this season, six of those by more than 20 points.
WVU coach Mike Carey knows that despite having home-court advantage, there isn't a good place or time to play the Huskies.
"It's never a good time to play Connecticut," Carey said. "You can ask Duke. Ask DePaul if they were happy to play them the other night. They're a great team and they have the best player in America in Maya Moore. But we have to go into this game believing we can win. We have to envision winning it or we'll never have a chance. We have to go in trying to win this basketball game and we'll see what happens."
Moore is believed by many to be the best player in the sport and she has the numbers to back up that praise. The senior is Connecticut's all-time leading scorer at 2,731 points, she's averaging 24.5 and she leads the team in steals (53), blocks (31) and assists (95).
"She can play several positions," said Carey. "She can go down and post, she can shoot the 3 and she can jump up by the rim. You can lob the ball to her and she doesn't pull it down, she just catches it and lays it in. She plays great defense, she gets a lot of steals and she gives up the ball when other people are open. Since I've been here I've seen a lot of great players at Connecticut, but there's no doubt I truly believe she's the best I've seen Connecticut have."
Liz Repella will try to combat Moore with a little star power of her own. The guard leads the Mountaineers (20-4, 6-4) in scoring at 14.1 points per game and is backed up by Madina Ali's 13.2 points per contest.
Repella, a senior co-captain, offered some insight on the team's recent struggles, including a home loss to arch rival Pittsburgh on Saturday.
"I don't think any of us thought we would have lost three out of four games," said Repella. "But there's no time to hang your head. We're in the Big East Conference and we have five seniors on this team. We're not going to fold. We're not. We're going to go into practice every day and work."
Connecticut leads the all-time series 22-1, including two victories last season by a combined score of 140-79. The contest will air live on CBS College Sports.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-1749 or jcantrellf...@aol.com.