West Virginia men's basketball coach Bob Huggins isn't the only one in Morgantown doing a lot with an extremely young team these days.
WVU women's coach Mike Carey has the Mountaineers perched near the top of the Big East once again, despite a roster that features just one senior and two juniors.
Carey has guided WVU to postseason appearances in seven of the past eight years, including five berths into the NCAA tournament. Even with the past success, the team's overall youth figured to make this year one of Carey's most trying seasons, a fact he doesn't deny.
"It's a big challenge," Carey said. "One thing with this team is we continue to work hard. If we continue to work hard, we will continue to get better. We make a lot of mistakes because we are a young team, but as long as we learn from it, we will get better.
"Even the sophomores didn't play a lot last year because we had a bunch of seniors. So it has really been a learning experience for the sophomores, let alone the freshmen."
After losing 79-60 at No. 2 Connecticut on Jan. 4, the Mountaineers have reeled off back-to-back Big East wins over Villanova and Seton Hall. The team is 12-4 overall and 3-1 in the league, good enough for a share of third place.
Although this year's team has found its share of success already this season, Carey said it was the loss to the Huskies that may end up paying the biggest dividends.
"It was great," Carey said of the trip to Connecticut. "You can tell them about it, you can show them on film, but until they experience it it's a whole different world. I thought there were periods in the first half and the second half that we played really well, but our youth took over and we turned it over too much."
As the young squad tries to find its footing on the offensive end, the team's defense has given opponents fits all season. The Mountaineers yield just 48 points per game and teams are shooting only 31 percent against them, both marks ranking fifth in the nation.