MORGANTOWN - Coach Mike Carey hopes to learn a lot about this year's young West Virginia women's basketball team on its trip to France and Italy in August.
He and his assistants will be teaching the Mountaineers in 10 practice sessions before they depart early next month. Then they will be using different combinations in the three games they are scheduled to play abroad.
"It will be interesting to see what happens," said Carey, who's in his 11th year at WVU. "I'm going to have to have some patience and that's what this trip is for."
Asya Bussie, a 6-foot-4 junior center, is the only holdover starter from last year's team that posted a 25-10 record. Other returnees include 6-foot-5 Natalie Burton and 6-foot-3 junior Ayana Dunning.
Burton is the only senior on the roster.
Four sophomores and five freshmen also are available, and Carey said he'll start deserving freshmen, if necessary, as he has done on occasion in the past.
But the veteran coach said he is excited after three early workouts. "I am excited now, but I may not be later," he explained.
While just three games will be played on this trip, Carey said they are expected to be against three of the best teams available in those countries.
Carey plans to have his team working on basic offensive and defensive plays. He vows to keep it simple for the players.
"Especially with such a young team, this should really help us when preseason practice starts in October," Carey said.
He hopes to find out where the team's strengths and weaknesses are before the Mountaineer's return to Morgantown. All of the players have stayed here this summer and worked hard on their own.
Carey is pleased with the three post players that have experience. As a result, he wants WVU to get the ball into the post area more this year. He believes that could be a chief strength early.
However, he said every position on the perimeter is wide open at this time. be a very athletic team.