Look for another low-scoring, defensive battle at 5 p.m. today when the Lady Eagles host Coastal Carolina.
Winthrop is the best defensive team in the Big South. The Lady Eagles (6-8 overall, 1-2 BSC) have held opponents to 35, 55 and 54 points in three conference games.
Unfortunately, the offense has lagged behind.
Winthrop was unable to close out home games against Liberty and Radford. In both games, they relinquished leads in the final five minutes resulting in a pair of four-point losses -- 55-51 to Liberty and 54-50 to Radford.
The storyline tonight is the absence of the team's second-leading scorer, Tiffany Rodd. She missed two games earlier in the season due to a high ankle sprain. On Tuesday, she had X-rays of the ankle. The pictures suggested she wasn't healing properly.
Rodd is closing in on the Big South's record for most career 3-pointers, but her shot has been off. She was 0-for-8 against Radford. In Winthrop's three conference games she has made just one 3-pointer and three of her 21 shots from the floor.
"We are going to shut her down for two weeks at least," Childers said.
The hope is that she can heal and be back to her normal for the latter part of the conference schedule.
Until then, Childers wants to put his best defensive lineup on the floor. The move will enhance what Winthrop has done best rather than try to remedy an offense that has been a puzzle.
Kathi Ryska and Shelly Hankins are candidates to step in for Rodd. They're both good defenders.
Ryska, a 5-7 guard from Germany, is a feisty player that loves to draw charging fouls. She can play the point, allowing Childers to move Yvonne van Daalen to the three spot. Hankins is regarded as the best defender on the team. Neither player is scoring much -- combined they average just 2 points per game.
Jessica Fansler already has started nine games this season. The 5-11 junior is becoming a more polished player this year. She is second on the team in blocked shots (5) and tied for third in steals (10). She can score, too. She has made 4-of-5 of her 3-point attempts in the last two games and shoots better than 90 percent from the foul line.
Foul shots could be key in this game. Winthrop shoots them well enough. They just haven't gotten to the line as often as their opponents. In the last two games Winthrop is 18-of-26 while Liberty and Radford combined to make 28-of-42.
Coastal (9-7, 1-2) has also lost two straight. The Chants were beaten Jan. 10 when the league's leading scorer, Charleston Southern's Pam Tolbert, hit a game-winning jumper with three seconds left. They gave up a four-point lead on Jan. 5 in the final 4:37 to High Point and lost 67-66.
Needless to say, both teams want to win this game.
Coastal coach Alan LeForce has his youngest team ever. There are no seniors on his roster. He has five juniors, one (Kendra Reynolds) missed the first nine games due to NCAA transfer rules. LeForce, who won his 400th career game earlier this season, called this team his most talented and his youngest.
"I like this team's competitiveness. They work hard and get along well," LeForce said prior to the season.
Reynolds, a 6-0 forward, leads the team in scoring, averaging 11.3 points and 7 rebounds in her seven games. She already has posted three double-doubles. She has adjusted quickly to the Big South after transferring from Olney Central Junior College. Junior guard Amanda Stull chips in 10.6 points per game.
Sydnei Moss, a 5-10 combo guard, comes off the bench to score 9.8 points and grab 7 rebounds a game. She has scored 18, 13 and 11 points in BSC action.
WINTHROP (6-8, 1-2) VS COASTAL CAROLINA (9-7, 1-2)
-- When: 5 p.m.
-- Where: Winthrop Coliseum
-- TV: None
-- Radio: winthropeagles.com (click the Stretch icon), 4:45 p.m.
-- Tickets: 803-323-2345
-- Winthrop probable starters: G Yvonne van Daalen 5-9 Sr. (7.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg); G Jessica Fansler 5-11 Jr. (6.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg); C Ashley Haugtvedt 6-2 Sr. (7.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg); F Franchesca Davenport 5-11 Sr. (2.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg); F Ashley Fann 6-0 Sr. (11.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg).
-- Coastal Carolina probable starters: F Devin Rivers 6-1 Jr. (7.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg); F Kendra Reynolds 6-0 Jr. (11.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg); C Katie White 6-3 So. (3.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg); G Kate Jasinski 5-6 So. (8.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg); G Amanda Stull 5-9 Jr. (10.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg).
-- Note: Coastal Carolina has no seniors on the roster. The team is the youngest coach Alan LeForce has ever had.