Panthers to open 3-game homestand at EKU


Shadezja Garrett

Senior guard Alece Shumpert plays against Western Illinois on Dec. 2. She scored a total of 6 points during this game.

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

Eastern women’s basketball is set to open up a three game home stand against Eastern Kentucky still searching for its first win in the Ohio Valley Conference

EKU currently has a record of 8-6 this year and are 2-1 in conference play. They come into this game having won four of their last five games. Eastern is looking to break their 15-game losing streak and earn their first victory in conference play.

The Panthers won the head-to-head matchup last year on the road against WKU, but they have returned a very experienced team. Head coach Debbie Black reflected on last year’s game and the type of team WKU is.

“They’re very athletic. They’re 2-1 in the conference,” she said. “We played them very well at their place last year. They have pretty much athletes that are going to go to the basket. They want to run, they want to take quick shots and they are going to defend pretty hard.”

Black said that the biggest problem for Eastern is probably their lack of rebounding. She is trying to dig the team out of the hole by changing up lineups and defensive looks.

“We started different combinations and we’re still trying to find the combinations that can play particular on the defensive end,” she said. “We’ve tried a lot of different schemes. That’s what you have to do when you’re obviously losing like this. We’ve tried some zone, 3-2, some 2-3.”

Sophomore guard Mariah Madison has progressively earned playing time off of the bench for Eastern. Last game against Belmont she finished with 12 points and five rebounds, the second time she has scored double digits in her career.

Black also noted sophomore forward Jalisha Smith as someone who has been earning more minutes.

“Mariah Madison coming off the bench has started to do a really good job for us and so has Jalisha smith,” she said. “You’ll see them getting more minutes as these games go by. It’s really just based on performance of whose going to rebound for us and who’s going to defend.”

Black said they will have to stop EKU from getting easy buckets and that they need to avoid turnovers. They face a difficult task in defending junior Jalen O’Bannon who has posted double-doubles in the last four games.

“We’re going to have to take care of the ball, and they have the leading rebounder in the league on their team,” she said. “If we don’t rebound, at the end of the day, however well you play on defense, if you don’t rebound you’re in trouble.”

The game will begin at 5:15 p.m. in Lantz Arena with the men’s game following right after at 8 p.m.


Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]