With two exhibition wins followed by five losses and just one win, it would be easy to assume the Eastern women’s basketball team will make a repeat of past seasons. However, this may not be the case.
The Panthers’ first regular season win came over Evansville 79-52. Senior guard Grace Lennox once again emerged as a leader with a team-high 14 points.
Lennox was her usual generous self with points though as three of her teammates also scored in double digits. Sophomores forward Jennifer Nehls and guard Danielle Berry ended the game with 12 points, and freshman forward Grace McRae earned 11 points.
These four players and junior guard Carmen Tellez have consistently led the team throughout these early games in the season. Even in the team’s most recent loss against Cleveland State, these five starters pushed their team to just a single digit loss (69-77).
Lennox had her best game yet, leading with 24 points of her own. Nehls had a repeat performance of 12 points, and she also notched four rebounds and four assists.
Home games will definitely be this team’s strong suit. Both exhibition games and the battle against Evansville were home competitions that the Panthers managed to snatch.
The Panthers are currently 1-5 on the season. At this time last year, the team sat at 4-2, a winning record that may be restored this season in Eastern’s next home game against Bradley.
Bradley comes into the game with a 3-2 record on the season. The Braves most recently lost to Southeast Missouri in a tight 57-53 battle. Bradley’s Vanessa Markert is the most comparable to Lennox; she scored 12 points against Southeast Missouri and pulled down eight rebounds.
Lennox has scored more points than Markert this season and is 26-76 in field goal attempts while Markert is 20-41. Markert has out-rebounded Lennox this season with 23 rebounds to Lennox’s 20.
The Panthers will play 12 total home games for the remainder of the season with a majority of them hosting Ohio Valley Conference teams. Eastern will have a chance to redeem itself in these next three games, but the defense needs to be upped in order to do so.
This is a team full of chemistry and big scorers, and its time the Panthers start proving just how much they have improved since last season. It would be easy to assume the Panthers will have a losing record this season, but this team has the statistics and work ethic to prove otherwise.
Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]