Women’s hoops look for upset at No. 14 Louisburg

February 12, 2016

LOUISBURG, N.C. — Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) women’s basketball coach Brian Henderson would like nothing more than to parlay the Lady Patriots’ win Super Sunday at Brunswick with another road victory tonight (Feb. 12) at Louisburg College.

PHCC (6-12, 2-6) won its first conference road game of the season with a 64-62 Feb. 7. It will now look to squash the No. 14 Hurricanes’ (18-4, 6-2) seven-game win streak on their home floor.

The teams were scheduled to play for the first time in Martinsville on Feb. 2, but the Patriots had to forfeit the game because suspensions suffered in a game against Bryant & Stratton on Jan. 30 left them with fewer than five players. In what could possibly be a first-round matchup in the Region X tournament, Henderson knows how beneficial it can be to learn something about an opponent prior to the tournament.

“Louisburg is always a very tough team and coached extremely well. They are on a seven-game winning streak so we know it’s going to be tough,” Henderson said.

Louisburg’s guard-heavy lineup is athletic and extremely talented, said Henderson. The Hurricanes like to play four guards, pressure the ball and force tempo. Henderson added that his team needs to stay sound defensively and not let guard play be a factor.

Sophomore Iresha Cooper leads the quartet of guards with an 11.7 points per game average. The other three (Jasmine Gray, Jasmine Covington, Keechell Johnson) all average better than 10 points per.

Despite winning seven straight, Louisburg hasn’t done so by shooting lights out. It has only shot better than 40 percent twice in seven games since January, and has averaged more than 21 turnovers per game during that same stretch. The difference has come in scoring off turnovers and maximizing second-chance opportunities.

The Hurricanes have reached double digits in steals in four of their last seven. They’ve also averaged 46 rebounds over their last five games and an average of 22 on the offensive glass. Cooper also leads the team in rebounding, averaging 7.4 a contest.

Lady Patriots freshman Ebony Reynolds (Patrick County, Va.) is on a streak of her own, recording nine straight double-double performances. Her 18 points and 14 rebounds against Brunswick was the latest achievement and is now averaging 19.7 points and 14.7 boards in conference play.

Overall, PHCC has averaged 43 rebounds per game in conference play just behind Louisburg in the conference rankings. Its plus-15 rebounding differential also ranks second in the conference and being able to control the glass, Henderson said, could be the difference in creating an upset.

Freshman Lexi Dabney (Danville, Va.) has also upped her scoring average into double figures with a 10.2 mark. Scoring, however, has been the main issue for the Lady Pats as they average less than 60 points per game. Only Lenoir has scored fewer points in the conference.

Energy is something Henderson wants to see for the duration of 40 minutes. Ruth Omolola (New Carrollton, Md.) inside with Reynolds will have to neutralize the glass. Omolola has an average of 11.4 rebounds per game. Olivia Simpson (Australia) has also stepped up to provide good minutes alongside fellow international Elena Suebsman (Germany).

Both conference losses this season for Louisburg have come to leading and unbeaten Cape Fear Community College. The Patriots will return home Feb. 18 for their next game when they take on Guilford Tech.

Filed under: Women's Basketball