Despite being a ranked division leader only three games before the end of the regular season, the No. 16 USC Aiken women’s basketball team is in need of a solid home performance today against Armstrong Atlantic.
That’s because the Pacers (19-4, 12-4 Peach Belt Conference) were on a two-game losing streak before a 47-44 home win over struggling Lander. Even though the win kept USCA in first place in the PBC’s East Division, it did anything but instill confidence on the offensive end of the floor.
Even without All-American Kayla Harris, the Pacers have maintained their place near the top of most major statistical categories in the conference except points. Once near the top of the PBC, USCA is now ninth in the conference with an average of 64.8 points per game.
The Pacers are still leading the league in 3-point shooting with an average of 37.4 percent, and a big part of that is Daniela Tarailo. The senior captain is fourth in the PBC with a 47.7 percent mark from beyond the arc and seventh in scoring at 15 points per game, and she leads the league by a wide margin in made 3-pointers with 79 on the year.
Tarailo has struggled in the last three games, including a 10-point effort in the Pacers’ 69-67 overtime loss at Armstrong (10-13, 5-11) that also saw her connect on four of 20 field goals and only two of seven 3-point attempts. In that game, in which the Pirates – averaging 29.5 percent from deep for the year – hit 10 of 22 3-pointers (45.5 percent), Tori Klewicki-McNutt knocked down four of her nine 3-pointers and scored 15 points.
The Pacers will be looking to take another step closer to a division title with a victory of any margin. A win would set up a home game against rival Augusta State (18-5, 11-5) that could grant the Pacers the coveted top spot in the East heading into the PBC tournament.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.