The Daily Eastern News

Women’s basketball team looking to break losing streak

Sophomore+Danielle+Berry+dribbles+the+ball+up+the+court+in+the+Panthers%E2%80%99+67-52+loss+to+Bradley+Dec.+5+in+Lantz+Arena.+Thursday+night%E2%80%99s+game+against+Tennessee+State+is+the+Panthers%E2%80%99+first+since+Dec.+20.
Sophomore Danielle Berry dribbles the ball up the court in the Panthers’ 67-52 loss to Bradley Dec. 5 in Lantz Arena. Thursday night’s game against Tennessee State is the Panthers’ first since Dec. 20.

Sophomore Danielle Berry dribbles the ball up the court in the Panthers’ 67-52 loss to Bradley Dec. 5 in Lantz Arena. Thursday night’s game against Tennessee State is the Panthers’ first since Dec. 20.

Karina Delgado | The Daily Eastern News

Karina Delgado | The Daily Eastern News

Sophomore Danielle Berry dribbles the ball up the court in the Panthers’ 67-52 loss to Bradley Dec. 5 in Lantz Arena. Thursday night’s game against Tennessee State is the Panthers’ first since Dec. 20.

JJ Bullock, Assistant Sports Editor

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Neither the Eastern women’s basketball team or Tennessee State’s are strangers to extended losing streaks and while Tennessee State just broke a four-game losing streak of their own, Eastern will attempt to break its 12 game-skid against Tennessee State Thursday night.

Both teams will be playing with a streak in mind when they meet. The Tigers will be looking to build a streak by stringing together back-to-back wins for the first time all season, while Eastern will be attempting to get back on track after watching its record plunge to 1-14 on the season thanks to the 12-game losing streak that began on Nov. 25.

There are two things Eastern feels will give it an extra edge to its game however. The Panthers will be playing on their homecourt for the first time since Dec. 20 and the re-insertion of junior guard Carmen Tellez to the starting lineup is something coach Matt Bollant says is huge for the team.

Tellez missed the team’s last two games with a sprained ankle.

“She does a lot for us offensively and it’s great to have a junior in the starting lineup as well as someone who is a veteran in play,” Bollant said.

The return of Tellez will move freshman Karle Pace, who started in her absence, back to the bench.

As has been a theme all season for Eastern, rebounding and post-play is the main concern Eastern has coming into the game. Getting the ball inside is something Bollant says Tennessee State does particularly well.

“We haven’t played against a lot of teams that score on the block, unless its offensive rebounding and they probably score more inside than most teams that we have played all year except for maybe Northwestern,” Bollant said.

Where the Tigers have really made a living this season has been grabbing offensive rebounds and turning them into second-chance points.

The rebounding matchup is one that does not play well for Eastern on the stat sheet. The Panthers have an OVC worst –10.1 rebounding margin, while Tennessee State grabs an OVC second-best 15.2 offensive rebounds per game.

“That’s (rebounding) something for us that is definitely not a strength for us. We have been working on it every day and talking about it every day,” Bollant said. “So we are trying to get better and obviously it’s a huge deal to limit them to one shot as much as possible.”

Tennessee State’s attack in the paint centers around redshirt-junior forward Tia Wooten.

Wooten leads the OVC with 21.5 points per game and grabs a team-high 7.9 rebounds per game.

The guard duties of Wooten have not been taken lightly and will be left in the hands of sophomore forward Jennifer Nehls.

“I think just trying to limit (Wooten’s) touches the best we can and just knowing exactly where she is at on the floor and who’s help responsibility it is and trying not to get her offensive rebounding put backs, she is going to get some because she is so good at it. Just trying to know where she is at and make everything difficult for her,” Bollant said.

Eastern and Tennessee State will play at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Lantz Arena.

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or jpbullock@eiu.edu

 

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Women’s basketball team looking to break losing streak