In most of their recent meetings, USC Aiken and Lander’s women’s basketball teams have battled for supremacy in the Peach Belt Conference’s East Division, even carrying lofty national rankings into the game.
While No. 12 USC Aiken (18-4, 11-4 PBC) has still remained atop the division despite back-to-back losses, Lander (8-13, 5-9) finds itself in unfamiliar territory in fourth place in the East and 5 1/2 games back of the Pacer women.
The reason for the Bearcats’ struggles is evident without much research required. They’re last in the league in field-goal percentage (35.4) and 3-point percentage (27.0), and they’re within the bottom five in points per game (58.5), free-throw percentage (67.0) and assists (12.7).
That shouldn’t bode well for Lander when it visits the Convocation Center today, but the last two games have been a chore for the Pacers. In consecutive losses to Armstrong Atlantic and Flagler, USCA has come up well short of its season field-goal percentage of 43.5 – second in the conference – and conference-best 3-point percentage of 38.3.
The statistical heroes are few and far between for the Bearcats, but a couple players are turning in nice seasons. Junior guard Aarika Judge is the team’s scoring leader with 15.3 points per game to go with 3.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds, while senior forward Precious Elkins averages 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds.
They’ll try to counter the efforts of senior guard Daniela Tarailo for the Pacers, who averages 15.6 points per game and is in the top five in the conference in 3-point percentage at 44.3 percent. Junior point guard Brittany Hill is averaging 7.7 points to go with six assists per game for the Pacers, good for second in the league.
The Pacers won the teams’ last meeting on Feb. 6 by a 60-45 margin with Tarialo scoring 22 points.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.