Muldrow Steps Into Void; Leads WVU Women
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — You don’t often see what has happened with this year’s West Virginia’s women’s basketball team occur in college sports.
The team’s star player, in this case Tynice Martin, goes down with a serious injury.
We’re not talking about a good player.
We’re talking about an All-American quality player who was a candidate for Big 12 Player of the Year after averaging 18.8 points a game last season.
You lose a player like that and everyone is scrambling to make up the points, leadership and confidence that comes with having such a player. There is not a fall off just in talent but in all aspects of the game.
Coach Mike Carey, though, had an idea that this was one of those many — almost yearly — major injuries that he might be able to absorb, for he had a special player hidden away in the wings.
Her name is Teana Muldrow and Carey simply calls her “the most unselfish player I’ve ever coached.”
A year ago, Muldrow averaged 14.5 points a game while hauling in 8.5 rebounds per contest, just behind Lanay Montgomery’s 8.9 boards that would lead her into the WNBA.
Much of it went unnoticed as Martin dominated play.
But off this summer in camp with Team USA, Martin suffered a broken foot which will sideline her for most of the pre-Big 12 season, if not all, and that sent shivers down Mountaineer fans’ spines … until Muldrow just shrugged and took over.
She came in a different player, now averaging 23.5 points a game after blending into the background while first Bria Holmes and then Martin starred.
“I think it’s just confidence,” Carey said as he readied his team for tonight’s key SEC/Big 12 showdown between his unbeaten 11th-ranked team and once beaten and 19th-ranked Texas A&M in College Station.
“She always had the skill, but she always let other people take the limelight. Last year it was Tynice Martin but this year she understands Tynice is injured so she has to step up. She’s always had the talent and always been a scoring threat, but she’s the most unselfish player I have ever coached. She is just a great young lady on and off the floor, a great family.
“Everyone needs a Teana on their team to be successful and we’re fortunate to have one.”
Muldrow knows all about the talent and the scoring isn’t very surprising to her.
“I’ve always been a scorer,” she said.
At 6-foot-1, she’s undersized as a post player, but it doesn’t seem to matter.
“Even though I’m undersized (in the post) I have the strength of a five so that helps me out,” Muldrow said. “I can body up and be physical but sometimes when they just lob there’s nothing I can do.”
She’ll get a test against A&M, whose only loss this year came to No. 10 Oregon and is, according to Carey, a physical team, which works against WVU.
“Texas A&M is a physical team. Normally, I like that but I don’t know how physical we can get because we’re worried about getting into foul trouble,” Carey said. “Normally I like it when we’re banging around and there’s a lot of bodies on the floor, but we have to be careful not get caught up in stuff like that because they are deeper than we are.”
He has to protect Muldrow and Kristina King on the inside while facing a pair of top line guards on the outside, but his team is growing, coming off a Paradise Jam championship.
“Down there against Butler when we weren’t playing well and they took the lead in the second half, I thought our seniors did a great job — Chania Ray and Teana. They took over down the stretch. That’s a start.
“I saw us get better, but I also saw a lot of stuff we better get better at or we aren’t going to win a lot of games in conference.”