After two weeks off, the East Central University women’s basketball team will return to Wayne Cobb Court at the Kerr Activities Center, Thursday, Jan. 3 for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off with Arkansas-Monticello. The game is the first of 2013 and two-straight in Ada.
ECU’s radio home for Lady Tigers basketball in 2012-13 is Ada’s KXFC, 105.5, FM ‘The X-Factor’. Kenny Morrison returns to broadcast the games for his 15th consecutive season. Morrison, a 1987 ECU graduate, spent two seasons doing color prior to taking over the play-by-play duties during the 1997-98 season.
Fans who can’t be at the game can find links to live stats, live video (if available) and the KXFC radio broadcast on ECUTigers.com. Go to the women’s basketball schedule page.
The Cotton Blossoms are 2-7 overall and 0-4 in the Great American Conference and have lost their last seven games. UAM’s last game was Dec. 18 when they were defeated, 41-79, at Northeastern.
The Cotton Blossoms have one player who is averaging double digits in the point’s column this season and five more that are netting 7-9 points per game. Donlicia James is the team’s go-to shooter with 11.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
UAM may have a losing record, but they are not falling too far behind their opponents in games. The Cotton Blossoms are averaging just -4.4 points and -4.7 boards per game. Their biggest disadvantage is in shooting percentages. UAM trails the opposition .383 to .420 from the field and .266 to .310 from beyond the arc.
Against the Cotton Blossoms
Last season the Lady Tigers and UAM split the season series, with each team winning on the road.
Ashley Robison and Dilan Webster led the offensive charge for ECU. Robison tallied 17.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, while shooting .500 from the field and .571 from three-point range. Webster added 10 points and six boards per game.
The top returners for the Cotton Blossoms are Candace Virgadamo and Catherine Puckett. Virgadamo netted 11.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, while Puckett added 5.5 points and 3.5 boards.
The 2011-12 series games were close contests, with the key difference coming down to free throws. ECU went 27-of-45 from the charity stripe, while UAM was 39-of-51.
The Lady Tigers and the Cotton Blossoms have meet on just six previous occasions, with the series dating back to Nov. 28, 1986. UAM earned the last victory at the Kerr Activities Center.
McCown Making a Mark
Senior Lindsay McCown was rewarded for helping the Lady Tigers claim two victories in their last two games. The Heavener, Okla., native averaged 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in two victories against Mid-America Christian and St. Mary’s, who entered their games with the Lady Tigers with a combined 18-3 record.
McCown set season highs for points (24), assists (4), field goals (8), three-point field goals (2) and free throws (6) against St. Mary’s. She tallied her second career double-double at Mid-America Christian, with 11 points and a career-best 11 rebounds.
Sophomore Dilan Webster put on a blocking clinic in the opening minutes of the game at Mid-America Christian. The Oklahoma City, Okla., native tallied five blocks in the first half against the Evangels and ended the game with a career-high six.
Senior Lindsay McCown recorded her second career double-double against Mid-America Christian (Dec. 17), with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Her first double-double had come a year earlier against the same team, when she tallied 22 points and 12 rebounds (Dec. 10, 2011).
The Lady Tigers have been making great strides to improve their record from a season ago. ECU finished 5-1 in non-conference play, up from a 2-9 mark from 2011-12.
As a team, the Lady Tigers shot 51.7 percent from the floor (30-58) against Cameron. That marked the first time since Feb. 16, 2012 that ECU had shot over 50 percent in a game. The Lady Tigers saw shooting percentages over .600 from four players and .500 or better from four more.
Dilan Doubling Down
Sophomore Dilan Webster had a standout game for ECU against Ouachita Baptist. The Oklahoma City, Okla., native tallied her third career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. She also set career highs for her three assists, four blocks and seven field goals.
Winning on the Road
ECU has already earned four wins on the road, which is three more than the 2011-12 campaign. The total surpasses the 2010-11 mark of two road wins, with the next highest total in recent years, being five away wins in 2009-10.
Spreading to Offense Around
All nine players that are playing this season are averaging at least three points per game, with only two members of the team garnering double-digits in the points column. All nine are also averaging at least two rebounds per outing.
Starting on a Winning Note
For the first time since the 2008-09 campaign, the Lady Tigers have started the season with a win in the opening game after they defeated SGU, 69-51 (Nov. 10).
GAC Preseason Poll
The Lady Tigers were picked to finish seventh in the annual Great American Conference Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league’s coaches.
ECU, who finished with an 8-19 overall mark a season ago, earned 22 points and tied with Arkansas-Monticello for seventh. Harding earned the top spot in the poll with 59 points and five first-place votes. Arkansas Tech finished second (58/3) and Southwestern Oklahoma State was third (54/1), rounding out the teams receiving first-place votes. Henderson State was picked fourth (39), Ouachita Baptist was fifth (34), Southeastern Oklahoma State was sixth (27) and Southern Arkansas rounded out the field in ninth (9). Northwestern Oklahoma State and Southern Nazarene were not included on the preseason ballot due to their provisional membership in the conference. However, games played against the two schools will count as GAC games this season.
Consistency and Discipline
The Lady Tigers will look very familiar in 2012-13, as the team returns nine players from a season ago, including all five starters. However, head coach Kent Franz is looking for more consistency and discipline from his group.
The Lady Tigers finished the 2011-12 season with an 8-19 overall record and went 6-10 in their first year in the Great American Conference. During those games ECU averaged 67.0 points per game and allowed 74.7 (-7.7). In GAC play the Tigers netted 68.3 points and allowed 76.9 (-8.6), with the difference being just a few possessions.
The Lady Tigers will wrap up a three-game home stand when Southern Arkansas comes to Ada for a 2 p.m. game, Saturday, Jan. 5 at the Kerr Activities Center. ECU will then start a three-game road swing.