ROCK HILL, SC—The Winthrop women’s basketball team, which is the midst of a six-game stretch in 12 days, will host North Carolina Central on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in the Winthrop Coliseum.
For Winthrop, which comes in with a 9-4 record and winners in three of its last four, the game will be the final non-conference contest of the season. The NCCU Eagles are 5-7 and have lost three in a row. One of the five wins, however, was an 89-58 shellacking of Gardner-Webb back on Nov. 25. Winthrop’s Eagles fell to GWU this past Saturday, 69-56, on the road.
Coach Kevin Cook’s Eagles are still ranked No. 21 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll. The new poll will be released Tuesday afternoon.
The two schools are meeting for only the fifth time in women’s basketball. Winthrop owns a 4-0 record with NCCU and won last year’s game, 63-44, in Durham, NC.
“They are a lot like a mirror image of us,” Cook said during the Monday night Coaches Show at Rock Hill’s Buffalo Wild Wings. “They are fast and like to push the pace. Look for it to be an exciting match and a good out-of-conference tilt.” The Eagles coach is hoping his team can make its presence felt on the boards after being outrebounded 60-42 on Saturday by GWU. “I look for the team that is controlling the boards to control the game. Usually those are the teams in women’s basketball that win the games.”
Winthrop is expected to be without the services of 6-3 sophomore center Schaquilla Nunn for the second straight game. Her status is day-to-day due to a sore knee. She is scheduled to be evaluated later this week, according to Winthrop’s coach.
“Yes, we dropped our first conference game, but we are still 4-1 in the league and tied for first place. That is good, but I really can’t say anything about Schaquilla’s situation because she has not been checked. It would just be speculation on my part right now,” said Cook.
With NCCU coming in and a trip to Radford on Thursday night facing the Eagles, Cook says, “The focus has been on our squad. Yes, we have prepared for our opponents, but we are still trying to get our rhythm back to where it was when we played nationally ranked South Carolina before the Christmas break. Offensively, we have put in some new schemes and we will have some new looks to throw at folks starting Tuesday night.”
Winthrop is looking to get its shooting eye back after a season-low 24 percent field goal shooting performance at Gardner-Webb. The one player who has struggled lately with her shooting stroke is leading scorer Dequesha McClanahan. She had her second straight 4 of 23 shooting effort in the loss to GWU and finished with 10 points. Despite the shooting drought, McClanahan still leads the Big South in scoring with a 17.8 average and she continues to dish out the assists on a record pace. She needs just 77 more points to reach 2,000 career points and she has already broken the conference career assist list. Her assist total now stands at 632. The old record was 612.
“Dequesha worked extra on her shooting today after practice,” said Cook. “She made a small adjustment with her form and she looked to be back on track. She’ll be just fine, and her shots will go down starting tomorrow (Tuesday) night,” he said.