CHARLESTON, S.C. – After coming within minutes of upsetting an SEC team for the second time this season, CSU returns to the friendly confines of the Buc Dome as they open Big South play with league newcomer Hampton.
Senior guard Ke'Asia Jackson collected her third 20-point effort in the loss at Florida as she paces the Bucs with just under 14.0 points per contest. Her efforts sit ninth in the Big South entering league play as she faces off with Ashley Bates and Laren Vanarsdale – two of the top-four scorers in the conference.
The Bucs held a fourth-quarter lead at Florida but 20 free throws across the final 10 minutes secured a home win and kept the Bucs from pulling the upset. The 30 points scored by Funda Nakkasoglu were the most by a CSU foe this season as she shot 9-of-12 from the floor and 4-of-7 from deep while adding a perfect 8-of-8 at the charity stripe.
Hampton comes into Big South play on a four-game skid but got a career day from leading-scorer Ashley Bates in their most recent loss. Bates scored a career-best 25 points and dished out six assists while pulling down five boards and stealing five Lion passes. She sits second in the league in scoring and paces the Big South with her 4.3 steals per contest.
Saturday marks the first time the two teams meet as Big South foes and is just the second all-time meeting after the Bucs took an 83-82 decision in the lone head-to-head meeting. Current CSU coach Fred Applin was the Pirates' bench boss at the time and will be part of the first three meetings in series history having coached on both sidelines. Applin and the Bucs look to continue their perfect record against the Pirates and have a chance to win back-to-back Big South home openers after defeating Longwood last season.
Lets Be Clear
- The Charleston Southern University Athletic Department is implementing a Clear Bag Policy for all athletic events inside the Buccaneer Field House for the entirety of the CSU men's and women's basketball seasons.
- Along with numerous NCAA Division I institutions across the country, as well as the policy implemented at Buccaneer Field over the last two seasons, this policy limits the size and style of bags carried into the venue.
- Each ticketed guest can carry one large clear bag – either a one-gallon Ziploc-style bag or the 12" x 6" x 12" clear bag – plus a small clutch purse (4.5" x 6.5"). The small clutch must be carried into the venue outside the clear bag and is subject to search.
- Saturday marks the beginning of Big South play for both Charleston Southern and Hampton with the Lady Pirates making their Big South debut. Hampton entered the Big South on July 1, 2018.
- CSU head coach Fred Applin is very familiar with the Lady Pirates program having served as their bench boss between 1995 and 1997. He was the Hampton head coach in the only head-to-head meeting between CSU and Hampton with the Bucs taking an 83-82 thriller.
- The Bucs look to make it back-to-back seasons with a win in their Big South opener after defeating Longwood inside the Buc Dome one year ago. CSU also looks to make it three of the last four seasons with a 1-0 start in league play.
- The Bucs will get a good look at the two Big South newcomers early in the conference slate as they take on USC Upstate Jan. 19 in Spartanburg.
Last Time Out
- The Charleston Southern women's basketball team came within moments of knocking off Florida Sunday, but free throws down the stretch lifted the home Gators to a 70-60 win.
- Senior guard Ke'Asia Jackson, who keeps climbing the all-time scoring list every time she steps on the court, finished with a team-high 20 points in the loss while fellow senior Breannah Bretches added 10 for a second-straight game. The 20-point effort was the third from Jackson this season, a team-high.
- Rachel Burns added nine points while pulling down a team-best five boards and picking off three Florida passes. Burns keeps inching closer to the 1,000 point, 500 rebound and 200 steal mark and will be just the third Buccaneer in program history to reach the feat.
- Florida guard Funda Nakkasoglu poured in a game-high 30 points to headline three Gators in double figures as Zada Williams and Delicia Washington added 18 and 13 respectively.
- The Bucs and Gators traded blows through the first three stanzas, but 20 free throws in the final frame provided just enough cushion down the stretch as the Gators outscored CSU 23-16 despite just one made field goal.
Scouting the Pirates
- Despite not having their preseason first team All-Big South player K'lynn Willis, the Lady Pirates have gotten major contributions from Ashley Bates and Laren Vanarsdale - each averaging above 16.0 ppg. Both sit in the top-five in the Big South with Bates sitting second and Vanarsdale currently holding down the fourth-best spot.
- Kaylah Lupoe leads a lengthy defense with her Big South-leading 3.1 blocks per contest - over 1.5 more blocks than any other player in the conference.
- Bates also sits at the top of the league with 4.3 steals per game and .529 shooting percentage. In her last outing, Bates dropped a career-high 25 points and six assists as well as five boards and five steals on Wednesday at Columbia.
- Hampton enters the weekend on a four-game losing skid having dropped games at Columbia, Cornell, Sacramento State and Stephen F. Austin.
A Win on Saturday Would
- Give the Bucs a 1-0 record in league play for the second-straight season and third over the past four.
- Keep the Bucs a perfect 2-0 against the Lady Pirates after defeating the then-Fred Applin led Hampton 83-82 in the 1995-96 season.
- Put the Bucs back over the .500 mark at home and come as their fourth victory in the friendly confines of the Buc Dome.