The Winthrop women’s basketball team opens Big South Conference action at High Point on Saturday afternoon following a two-week break for final exams. Tip-off time at the Millis Center is set for 2 p.m.
Winthrop, which moved up two spots in this week’s CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 rankings to No. 22, takes a 5-2 record into the contest while High Point is 5-3 overall and 1-0 in conference action after defeating Longwood, 68-54 at home on Dec. 6.
Senior guard Dequesha McClanahan, who entered the week leading the conference in scoring and ranking 25th in the nation with 22 points per game, is approaching another milestone as she is almost assured of becoming the all-time leading scorer in Winthrop men’s and women’s history. She needs just six points against High Point to break the record of 1,850 points held by Charles Brunson since 1982. The senior guard from Tennessee is also closing in on the Winthrop women’s career assist record. She leads the Big South with 7.9 assists per game, and needs 16 more assists to surpass Sheila Bailey’s record of 695 which has stood since 1991.
The Eagles have not played since defeating Robert Morris, 62-53, on Nov. 29 in the RMU Thanksgiving Classic, but head coach Kevin Cook believes the break has been good for both the players and the staff. “The proof will be in the pudding when final grades come out, but the players have gotten after it with their studies. It seems like a month since we have played, but we often forget they are here first to get a degree,” he said during the Monday night Coaches Show.
Cook said the break from action has also allowed some of the players, who have been banged up a bit, to recover. “We will certainly need everyone ready to go against High Point who just recently got a win over Longwood in their conference opener. They certainly got my attention, and I think they got our players’ attention as well,” he said.
In addition to McClanahan’s lofty scoring and assist averages, sophomore center Schaquilla Nunn leads the conference and is ranked 12th nationally in rebounding with an 11.7 average, and is first in the league and 6th nationally in blocked shots with 2.86 per game. Nunn is also seventh in the league in scoring with a 14.7 average.
Following the High Point game, Winthrop will take another week off before facing No. 12 South Carolina at noon on Friday, Dec. 20, in the Colonial Life Center. That game was originally scheduled as a 7 p.m., game, but has been changed.