CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern opens up postseason play for the first time in the Fred Applin era on Thursday night as the Buccaneers host UNC Greensboro for the first round of the Women's Basketball Invitational.
Tipoff in the Buc Dome is set for 7 p.m. on the Big South Network and fans can follow the action via Live Stats on CSUsports.com and in-game updates on Twitter: @CSUGameDay. The Bucs (18-13) make their third appearance in the WBI and first under Head Coach Fred Applin.
CSU previously went to the tournament in both the 2010 and the 2012 seasons under former head coach Julie Goodenough.This will be the second time in program history the Buccaneers will host a WBI game. Previously, CSU hosted top-seed Appalachian State in the Buc Dome in 2010. The Bucs fell to the Mountaineers in the contest, 62-47.
Women's Basketball Game Notes - vs. UNCG
Thursday night's contest marks the Spartans first ever appearance in the Women's Basketball Invitational. Since joining Division I in 1991, UNCG has posted a 1-3 all-time record in postseason tournaments. The Spartans' defense is ready for battle. UNCG leads the Southern Conference in rebounding, with 40.1 boards per game, while allowing 34.7 rebounds per game to its opponents. With 1,243 total rebounds on the season, the Spartans are ranked 71st in the nation. UNCG is also one of the league leaders in blocking, rejecting 3.7 attempts per game and is ranked second in the SoCon with 8.5 steals per contest.
Freshman guard Nadine Soliman is starting her collegiate career off with a big bang. The Egyptian native leads the nation in scoring among freshman with 16.3 points per game, making her the third leading scorer in the SoCon. Soliman has been the Spartans top scorer in 18 games this season and was named the SoCon Freshman of the year and was a Second Team All-SoCon honoree.
SoCon Coach of the Year
In her first season at the helm of UNCG Women's Basketball, Spartan Head Coach Trina Patterson was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year. Under her guidance, UNCG has won 17 games, the most for the Spartans since the 2006-07 season when UNCG went 20-10. The Spartans' seven conference wins this season are the most since the program's 2010-11 slate when the conference schedule featured 20 games.
Last Time Against UNCG (November 10, 2012)
Rachelle Coward scored 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds as Charleston Southern began the Fred Applin era with a season-opening 60-57 victory over UNC Greensboro in the Asheville Collegiate Invitational at Kimmel Arena on Saturday. The Lady Bucs (1-0) turned the ball over 29 times but were able to hold off a comeback from the Lady Spartans (0-1) in the final minute.
UNCG was led by Lucy Mason with 17 points. Jarae Savage added 10 points for the Spartans. CSU led by as many as 11 in the second half but the Spartans closed the gap to 58-57 on two inside baskets from Savage in the final minute of play with the second score coming with eight seconds remaining.
The Bucs worked the ball to D.J. Fowler who was fouled with seven seconds left and the junior guard sank both free throws to give CSU a 60-57 lead. A three-point attempt by Natalie Headley to tie the game fell short as Erin Bratcher came down with the rebound for the Lady Bucs to seal the victory.
Charleston Southern equaled the most wins in program history with their 18th victory in the 2016-17 season. The Bucs have previously reached the 17-win mark in the 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons. CSU is one win away from equaling the most overall wins in program history when CSU went 18-10 in the 1998-99 season. CSU's 11 Big South Conference wins were the most in program history dating back to the 2000 season. The 2016-17 season was the Bucs' first double-digit wins mark in conference play with CSU previously achieving nine wins on three separate occasions in the 2000-01, 2009-10, and 2011-12 seasons.
Big South Representing
Charleston Southern and Campbell will represent the Big South in the 2017 WBI, with the possibility of conference faceoff on March 22nd or 23rd. CSU could also see matchups with UMBC, Brown, Milwaukee, Southern Illinois and St. Francis. Idaho, Utah State, Texas State, Eastern Washington, Rice, Lamar, UTRGV and Stephen F. Austin round out the 16-team field.
Check Your Pockets
Keep your eye on the ball... because Rachel Burns will likely take it away. With 2.2 steals per game, the sophomore guard is tied for the top spot in the Big South Conference. Burns has also found a home in CSU's record book, making it into the top-15 with 67 steals on the season. The Gainesville, Virginia native is just one steal away from making it into the top-10, and 10 away from a top-5 spot.
Scoring Like There's No Tomorrow
This season, sophomore guard Ke'Asia Jackson has proven she's a 5-8 force to be reckoned with. The Irmo, South Carolina native has become one of the premier free throw shooters in the NCAA this season and leads the Big South Conference with an 84.0% from the charity stripe in the 2016-17 season. With 105 free throws made, Jackson is currently the 12th all-time free-throw shooter in CSU single-season history. Jackson has also left her mark in CSU's single-season record book with 458 points (11th) and 168 field goals made (T7th). She currently leads the Bucs with 15.3 points per game and is ranked second in the Big South.
Bucs at the top of their game
CSU enters the postseason looking to continue one of the most successful seasons in program history with the Bucs tying the school record for overall wins with 18 while setting the program mark for Big South Conference wins with 11.The Bucs advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 Big South Conference Women's Basketball Championships this past week with a win over tournament host Liberty, before falling to top-seed Radford.