Notebook: Big matchups loom for OVC women’s basketball teams

Adam Tumino, Women's Basketball Reporter

The Daily Eastern News
Karina Delgado | The Daily Eastern News
Sophomore guard Jordyn Hughes takes on a defender in Eastern’s 75-62 loss on Jan. 18 at Lantz Arena.

It is now one-third of the way through conference season for the women’s basketball teams of the OVC.

The final two-thirds of the conference schedule begin this weekend with several important games featuring some of the top teams in the standings.

Two of those games will feature Eastern. After several seasons near the bottom of the conference, the Panthers find themselves tied for fourth place in the OVC with a conference record of 4-2.

They will host Tennessee-Martin (10-7, 6-0 OVC) Thursday at 5:15 p.m. It will be Eastern’s second-straight game against an undefeated conference team following a 75-62 loss to Tennessee Tech (13-4, 6-0 OVC) on Jan. 18.

Then on Saturday, the Panthers will play Southeast Missouri (12-5, 4-2 OVC), capping off a challenging weekend at home.

Another major match up will take place Thursday evening in Cookeville, Tennessee, where Tennessee Tech will host Morehead State (7-11, 3-3 OVC). Morehead State’s record may not jump off the page, but the Eagles finished last season with a 13-5 conference record and finished second in the OVC.

With some of the top teams playing each other, this weekend could be fruitful for the reigning OVC champs in Belmont.

The Bruins play Murray State and Austin Peay on the road. Both the Racers and Governors have 1-5 records to begin conference play.

When Eastern hosts Tennessee-Martin Thursday, the Panthers will have to deal with the OVC’s leading scorer in Chelsey Perry.

Perry was named the OVC Player of the Week after averaging 27.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game against Murray State and Austin Peay. She is averaging 21.5 points per game and ranks second in the conference with 8.6 rebounds per game.

Southeast Missouri will bring the fourth and fifth-leading scorers to Lantz Arena Saturday. Tesia Thompson is averaging 16.9 points per game and Carrie Shephard is averaging 16.4 points per game.

Eastern has a pair of top-10 scorers in the OVC as well with Karle Pace and Abby Wahl. Pace ranks seventh in the conference averaging 15.2 points per game. She is scoring at an even higher clip in conference play, averaging 20.5 points per game against the OVC.

Wahl ranks ninth in the conference averaging 12.1 points per game and ranks sixth with a .463 shooting percentage. Both Wahl and Pace scored 18 points in the Panthers’ last game against Tennessee Tech.

Eastern’s Lariah Washington is the top-scoring freshman in the OVC. She is averaging 9.2 points per game and is second on the team with 5.4 rebounds per game.

The OVC season is still far from over, but with some of the conference’s top teams and players facing off this weekend, it may start to get a lot more interesting.

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]