Today’s Countdown to Tipoff is a little different because it involves a men’s/women’s doubleheader at Halton Arena on Saturday. The women are first, taking on a very capable Florida Gulf Coast team at 5pm. Let’s crack it open…
- The Eagles enter the game 2-0, fresh off a win over FIU 69-45. Marita Davydova led the way with 16 points while Jerica Coley dropped in 9.
- FGCU plays in the Atlantic Sun Conference, where they were picked to finish 2nd in the league’s preseason coaches poll and to win it all by the media. Last year, they finished an impressive 29-3, including an undefeated 18-0 in conference play, en route to the conference championship. A 12th seed in the NCAA tournament, they fell in the first round to 5 seed and eventual Sweet 16 team (and Niner conference rival) St. Bonaventure.
- Karl Smesko is the head coach of the Eagles; his assistants are Abby Scharlow, Chelsea Dermeyer and Chelsea Lyles (Mel Thomas is director of basketball operations).
- Players of note: preseason all-conference selections Sarah Hansen and Brittany Kennedy. Hansen, arguably one of the better players in the league, is the team’s returning scorer (14.3 points per) while Kennedy led the team in assists last year (3.5 APG) and was second in steals to Hansen (60 to her teammate’s 64).
- Fun fact: the Eagles have a player named Katie Meador, no relation to the Katie Meador that wore Niner green and white from 2008-12.
Now for the men, facing Lamar:
- The Cardinals compete in the Southland Conference. Last year, they finished 23-12 (11-5 Southland) on their way to the league championship and a date with Dayton in the NCAA First Four, which they lost. Before the season, the Cardinals were picked to finish 5th by the coaches and tie for third by the media.
- It’s been tough sledding so for for Lamar as they’re 0-2 to start the young season, coming off losses to Kansas State and North Texas in the NIT Season Tip-Off’s opening round in Manhattan, Kansas.
- Pat Knight (son of Bob Knight) runs the show for the Cardinals. He is assisted by Kermit Holmes, Cliff Carroll and Sherron Wilkerson.
- The well may be a little dry for Lamar this year as the only returning starter from last year’s squad is Stan Brown, who averaged 4.9 PPG and 4.3 RPG a year prior.