The Winthrop women's basketball team returns to the Winthrop Coliseum for the first time in a month at 2 p.m. today when the Lady Eagles host Johnson C. Smith.
Winthrop (6-3) hasn't played at home since losing to Rice in overtime in the final of the Winthrop Classic in early November. Since then, the Lady Eagles have played six road games that have taken them to New Orleans, Greenville, Norfolk, Va., and Davidson, N.C.
"It hasn't been an ideal situation," coach Bud Childers said. "Since the season started, we haven't been able to get a couple of good practices in each week."
According to Childers, the time away from Rock Hill and lack of practice were apparent in last Sunday's 68-63 loss to Davidson.
"I think that was the reason we got off to such a slow start against Davidson," Childers said. "We're usually a pretty good starting team, but in that first seven minutes at Davidson we just couldn't get anything going.
"It won't surprise me if we're a little sluggish at the beginning (today)."
The Lady Eagles have had limited practice time this week because of exams. The team was able to get a full practice in on Saturday.
"Mostly, we worked on conditioning, shooting and going over our plays during the week," Childers said. "There just wasn't enough time to break down specific areas.
"Exams finish up Monday and Tuesday, so we'll get back on a regular routine on Wednesday."
The Lady Eagles host Georgia State a week from today.
The Golden Bulls, 4-1 and riding a four-game winning streak, are led by Kyria Buford, a former high school All-American at Victory Christian in Charlotte, who transferred to JCMU after one year at Florida State.
"Buford is definitely a Division I talent," Childers said. "We looked at her when she was at Victory Christian, but she committed to Florida State. I don't know what happened, but she transferred and she's been lights out for (Smith)."
Buford, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward, is averaging a team-high 17.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and is shooting 42 percent from the field. Janai Jackson, a 5-9 guard, averages 10.0 points, while 6-1 Rochelle Bodie leads the Golden Bulls with 7.6 rebounds a game.
• NOTE: The Winthrop Athletics Department has teamed up with Toys For Tots to help provide toys for children in need during the current basketball season.
Bring a toy to donate and receive one free ticket to the game with the purchase of one game ticket for today's game. Fans can also gain free admission with a church bulletin.