Notebook: Teams sharpen up before OVC play begins


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern guard Jordyn Hughes defends the ball handler against Indiana State on Nov. 10 in Lantz Arena. The Sycamores beat the Panthers 59-57.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz, Assistant Sports Editor

In just under a month, Eastern and the rest of the Ohio Valley Conference will begin conference play, and the OVC teams have already built up a bit of a resume at this point in the season.

The Panthers (4-3), slotted at 10th of 12 teams in the OVC preseason poll, showed immediate scoring improvements with three outings of over 80 or more points scored and now have four players averaging double-digits including preseason All-OVC selection junior Karle Pace who currently ranks sixth in the conference in scoring per game.

Sophomore Abby Wahl has arguably made the biggest jump from her freshman season, going from 6.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game a season ago to leading the team in scoring with 14.6 points per game and 5.4 rebounds in 30 minutes per game.

Wahl, along with sophomore Jordyn Hughes, led the team in 3-point shooting at 50 percent, combining for 21 makes on 42 attempts this season.

Eastern looks to stay above .500 as the team hosts Omaha on Saturday at 1 p.m.

OVC preseason poll-favorite Belmont (3-4) has slowed in recent weeks, losing three straight matchups to Power Five conference teams, including a 90-26 whalloping to No. 9 ranked Maryland on Saturday.

Between the Terrapins and No. 23 ranked Arkansas, two of the Bruins’ five losses are to ranked opponents and two more, Virginia Tech and Western Kentucky, are over .500 on the year.

Belmont senior forward and Preseason OVC Player of the Year selection Ellie Harmeyer has carried a load of the work for the Bruins this season, posting 16.5 points per game to go with 10.3 rebounds, good for third and first in the conference, respectively.

Belmont faces Lipscomb on Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Atop the OVC non-conference standings at this point is Southeast Missouri (4-1) with redshirt senior Carrie Shephard leading the way with 20.6 points per game, the highest in the conference, while shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range.

The Redhawks wrapped up a four-game road stint and return home for a matchup against Southern Illinois on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Tennessee-Martin junior Chelsey Perry soared on a personal note, recording a program single-game record eight blocks against IUPUI in a 57-51 win.

Perry’s 19 points and nine rebounds boosted her season averages to 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, and she also leads the conference in blocks per game at 2.8.

The Skyhawks face Chattanooga on Sunday at 2 p.m.


Oscar Rzodkiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]