PREVIEW: Mount St. Joseph
The Wilmington women's basketball team will be coming off a 10-day break when the Fightin' Quakers host non-conference rival Mount St. Joseph 6 p.m. Monday. The Wilmington athletic department will honor the 2004 National Championship team during the game.
Wilmington has won 11 straight in the series, including a 50-48 victory in which WC scored 10 of the last 12 points at the Harrington Center last season. The last MSJ victory, a 69-61 decision, came during the 1996-97 season. The teams have two common opponents, Muskingum and Marietta. Wilmington defeated both teams, while the Lions lost to both teams.
"Mount St. Joseph is a team that we were lucky to beat down there last season, and they have all of the players back," said Wilmington head coach Jerry Scheve. "They are capable of giving us all we can handle."
Sophomore forward Tara Dennis leads Mount St. Joseph with 12.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 13 blocks. She also leads the team in shooting percentage, making 50 percent of her attempts. In the two games following exam week, Dennis averaged 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds to earn Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors. In last year's meeting, Dennis came off the bench to lead MSJ with 15 points and six rebounds.
"She is as good a scoring post player we are going to play against this year," said Scheve. "She is surrounded by good guards that can score and create. They can be difficult to guard."
Sophomore guard Heidi McManus is second on the team with 12.8 points per game, but she is achieving that feat by shooting 65 more shots than anyone else on the team. McManus, who leads the team with 32.2 minutes, is shooting just 28.5 percent (43-of-151) from the field. Junior Mea Williams, a transfer from WC, is second on the team with 13 blocks.
The Fightin' Quakers are led by a pair of seniors, Haley Howard (Uhrichsville, OH/New Philadephia) and Makenzie Wippel (Orient, OH/Westfall). Howard scores a team-high 14.1 points with 4.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
Freshman Brittaney Jefferson (Dayton, OH/Chaminade-Julienne) is coming off the bench to score 7.4 points per game with a team-high 19 steals.
Wilmington will be trying to snap a season-long three-game losing streak.
"We have struggled in the last three games," said Scheve. "Sometimes confidence begins to waver when you are not playing as you can. We need to get back to what we do best."