Panthers holding final OVC Tournament spot

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

There is now just a week and a half remaining in the regular season for the women’s basketball teams in the OVC.

As things currently stand, only one team, Tennessee State, is mathematically eliminated from the conference tournament.

All other teams are still in contention for a top-eight spot in the OVC.

Still leading the way is Tennessee-Martin, the preseason favorite to win the conference. The Skyhawks are 13-2 in conference play this season and 14-4 overall.

Tennessee-Martin is averaging 69.7 points per game, tied for the second-highest mark in the conference. They also have the fifth-ranked defense in the conference, allowing an average of 61.7 points per game.

Tied with the Skyhawks with 69.7 points per game on offense is Belmont, which currently sits in second in the OVC with a conference record of 9-3.

The Bruins still have games to make up after missing nearly a month of games earlier in the season as a result of COVID protocols.

Belmont also ranks second in defense, allowing just 58.5 points per game. Their offensive and defensive production have earned the Bruins the best scoring margin in the OVC at +11.2 points per game.

The hottest team in the OVC is fifth-place Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks are riding a four-game winning streak and are now 9-5 in conference play.

Their defense has been the main catalyst of their success all season, and especially recently. The Gamecocks are allowing just 57.8 points per game this season, the fewest in the OVC. During their winning streak, they are allowing 53.5 points per game and held Southern Illinois-Edwardsville to 42 points Feb. 13. It was the third time this season the Jacksonville State has held their opponent under 50 points.

Eastern is currently in eighth place in the OVC with a conference record of 7-9.

The Panthers have lost their last two games and their four remaining games are against teams that rank higher than them in the standings, including games against third-place Southeast Missouri and conference-leaders Tennessee-Martin.

Eastern ranks sixth in the OVC in offense (66.1 points per game) and ninth in defense (67.5 points per game).

Tennessee-Martin forward Chelsey Perry is still dominating the rest of the conference, leading the OVC in scoring by 6.2 points per game.

Her 25.1 points per game rank fifth in the nation.

Murray State freshman Katelyn Young leads the OVC with 9.3 rebounds per game and Eastern’s Kira Arthofer still leads the conference in assists per game with 4.8. Arthofer also ranks sixth with 1.9 steals per game.

Eastern forward Abby Wahl ranks fifth in scoring with 15 points per game and her 7.3 rebounds per game rank seventh. She is one of three players to rank in the top 10 in the OVC in both categories.

 

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