Women's Basketball take out Four Corners, 75-50
Slam dunks for hoops preseason games
If Friday night is any indication of the AU Women's Basketball season, then the first Patriot League championship may be on its way to Bender Arena.
The Eagles dominated Four Corners, beating them 75-50 in an exhibition game that included a 20-0 Eagles run in the second half.
The Eagles were led by senior Chanel Spriggs, who scored 20 points, on 8 of 17 shooting from the floor. She added four rebounds, three of which were offensive, four steals and two assists.
"Chanel worked very hard this summer on her offensive game, and she's been real consistent in practice," said Eagles head coach Shann Hart.
Also chipping in for AU was the point guard tandem of junior Joanna Barnes and senior Kaitlin Schuyler. Barnes ruled the first half, scoring 10 of her 13 points in the opening frame. She knocked down three three-point field goals and grabbed four boards.
Schuyler took over in the second half and ended the game with 11 points. She led the Eagles with eight rebounds, six assists and five steals.
"The point guard position is a strength," Hart said. "Schuyler came out a little sluggish in the first half, but she really picked it up towards the end."
Four Corners only dressed five players, so fatigue sank in quickly. After keeping the score tight for most of the first half, the Eagles went on a 20-0 run toward the beginning of the second half and extended their lead to 55-27.
Four Corners was led by Tiffany Corey, who scored 14 points, and former Duke player Janee Hayes, who scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Joy Silver also contributed 12 points.
The Eagles did a great job of turning defensive intensity into points on the other end. They had 15 steals and scored 30 points off turnovers, while Four Corners only scored eight. They also shot the three-pointer well, sinking 7 of 18, while Four Corners only knocked down one.
Friday's contest marked the debut of highly touted freshman Kimeshia Junkins. The 6-foot-3 freshman is being counted on to be an inside presence, which the Eagles have lacked in recent years. She scored two points, grabbed four rebounds and had two blocks in 11 minutes of action.
While looking sluggish at times, Junkins got some valuable game experience as she looks to crack Hart's starting lineup.
"The big difference having Kimeshia is that when teams go inside, there is someone who can block the shot and be a defensive force," Hart said.
As she develops, she will improve upon last year's center tandem of the graduated Mariam Veppumthera and Katie Walsh, where no longer with the team.
Also playing well for the Eagles was junior Kim Salem, who scored 12 points, junior Jenyce Woodruff, with five points and five rebounds, and junior Angel Jordan, who scored seven points in only six minutes of action. Jordan should provide a lift this year from the outside, picking up where Katryn Costenbader left off last year.
Superstar junior Chanel Hunt started, but only played 18 minutes, scoring four points and grabbing three rebounds.
The Eagles open the season next Friday at 7 p.m. when they host UNC-Asheville. Hart's team will have its first chance to impress new Athletic Director Joni Comstock, who is coming from UNC-Asheville.
Friday night's game was preseason, and it was against a team with only five players. However, there's no denying that the Eagles can put up points and play stifling defense. They are depending on seniors like Spriggs and Schuyler to come up big this year.
And, if they play like they did on Friday, someone better alert the Patriot League, because AU is a legitimate contender to win the league.