Dawn Plitzuweit: ‘I Just Don’t Believe That We’re Done’
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — West Virginia coach Dawn Plitzuweit won’t mince words. She believes that her Mountaineers deserve an NCAA Tournament bid.
Turns out, so does her colleague, Oklahoma State coach Jacie Hoyt.
The Mountaineers (19-11) missed out on a chance to reach 20 wins in Plitzuweit’s first season with their 62-61 loss to the Cowgirls on Friday in the Big 12 Tournament. She said after the game that she hopes it’s not the end of the Mountaineers’ season and that she believes her team deserves a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“I certainly think our young ladies have earned an opportunity to keep playing and playing the NCAA Tournament,” she said. “Our resume that we have, finishing tied for fourth place in the Big 12, I think our young ladies deserve an opportunity to keep playing.”
West Virginia did it the hard way. It played one fewer non-conference game than just about everyone in the conference. The Mountaineers treaded water for the first two-thirds of Big 12 action. But, since its Feb. 11 upset of ranked Iowa State, WVU has five of its final seven games going into the Big 12 Tournament.
Entering Thursday, ESPN had the Mountaineers as one of the First Four Out. West Virginia has an NCAA NET rating of 61. That’s behind the six teams most assume will make the field. Right in front of WVU is Oklahoma State at No. 47.
Hoyt and the Cowgirls have played the Mountaineers three times and have a 2-1 record against them. She admits she doesn’t pay much attention to NET ratings. But her eyes tell her that she’s faced a team that deserves a bid.
“They’re playing their best basketball right now,” Hoyt said. “And we’ve been able to see their momentum and what they’ve been able to do against the top teams in our conference, Who wouldn’t want to watch those two players, (guards Madisen) Smith and (JJ) Quinerly in March Madness? I mean, my goodness, they put on a show. We want to talk about ratings and women’s basketball, watch those two, they’re phenomenal.”
If the Mountaineers don’t make the NCAA Tournament, they will likely get a bid to the WNIT, something they received last season but turned down when it was clear they wouldn’t have enough players to participate. Plus, coach Mike Carey retired, paving the way for Plitzuweit to take over.
She and her team will have to wait until Sunday to find out their fate. It’s out of their hands now.
“I just don’t believe that we’re done,” Plitzuweit said. “To finish 10-8 in the Big 12 in a great conference … we finished (the regular season) winning five of our last seven, upset two Top 25 teams and, you know, I think there are at least six wins that we had against teams that are projected to be in the NCAA Tournament. So I just I believe that we have we surely have an opportunity.”
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard