ROCK HILL, SC–The Winthrop women’s basketball team is looking to add another first to its growing list of accomplishments if it can defeat Charleston Southern on Monday afternoon at the Winthrop Coliseum as a Eagle victory would mark the first time in the program’s history they have opened Big South Conference action with three straight wins.
Coach Kevin Cook’s squad, which moved up to No. 21 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll, takes a 7-3 overall record and a 2-0 conference slate into the 2:00 p.m. game. Only one other Winthrop team has been 2-0 to start Big South play and that was accomplished by the 2007-08 squad.
Winthrop goes into the game fresh off a 55-50 win over Presbyterian College on Saturday while Charleston Southern is 4-6 overall and 1-1 in the league after a convincing 84-64 road win over Radford on Saturday.
Monday’s meeting will be the 73rd all-time between the two schools. Winthrop leads the series 43-29, and has won the last three games and 11 of the last 15.
Cook is hoping his team will exhibit the kind of energy and enthusiasm on Monday that it displayed in the first nine games this season. The Eagles failed to play with that fire and passion in the win over PC on Saturday as they almost let an 18-point lead slip away in the final 12 minutes. “I was happy that we won the game, but I was concerned about the way we played,” he said following the game. The contest was Winthrop’s first in eight days after taking a break for Christmas.
Red-shirt freshman Zoe Vernon came off the bench to give Winthrop a big lift as she tied her career-high with 13 points on 3 of 5 three-point shooting. All 13 points came in the first half when Winthrop built a 31-15 lead at intermission. For whatever reason, lack of focus or a sudden offensive surge by PC, Winthrop seemed to let off the throttle in the final 12 minutes after taking a 44-26 lead.
Senior point guard Dequesha McClanahan continues to lead Winthrop in scoring with a 19.9 average, but on Saturday, she scored just nine points, breaking a string of 32 consecutive double figure performances. Sophomore center Schaquilla Nunn recorded her eighth double-double of the season with a 10-point and 13-rebound effort. She and Vernon were the only Eagles to reach double figures.
Including the CSU game, Winthrop will play five games over the next 11 days as conference action heats up.