Sports

Eagles look to win 7th in a row

The year was 1986.

Ronald Reagan was President, "Out of Africa" won the Academy Award for best picture, a who's who of recording artist got together to produce the year's biggest song, "We Are The World," Chicago thrashed New England 46-10 in Super Bowl XX and Louisville defeated Duke for the NCAA championship.

Locally, the Winthrop women's basketball team, behind stellar play from Debbie Easterling, Janet Dykton, Stephanie Morris and Kim Segars, was making headlines by putting together a string of seven straight NAIA victories that ignited Wanda Briley's first and last team to a 16-8 mark.

That's the last time the Eagles had a winning record.

Tonight, the Eagles look to win their seventh in a row when Coastal Carolina comes to the Winthrop Coliseum. A win against the Lady Chanticleers would boost the Eagles to 3-0 in league play and give 14-6 Winthrop the most wins ever in NCAA Division I competition.

Right now, neither coach Bud Childers nor his players are thinking about history. They are, Childers said Tuesday, thinking about tonight's opponent and the opportunity to win another Big South Conference basketball game and go 3-0 in league play.

"I've always said things like that are for the media and the fans, and they're OK to bring up," Childers said. "I wasn't coaching here back then and none of my players had been born.

"We'll look at things like that when (the season) is all said and done. You have to."

The Eagles have played inspired basketball on both ends of the court.

They:

• Averaged 72 points while giving up 55.8.

• Shot 44 percent from the floor, while holding opponents to 33 percent.

• Out-rebounded their opponents 254-168.

• Held one opponent to one field goal in a half.

• Averaged 15 turnovers.

Coastal Carolina got off to an excellent start in non-conference play, winning its first seven and going 11-3. But the Lady Chants, who were picked sixth in the BSC's preseason poll, drew the short straw to open league play. They opened with Radford, the top pick, and then took on perennial powerhouse Liberty, the No. 2 choice in the preseason league poll.

Then they had to play without senior leader C.J. Ware, who was averaging 6.7 points. She missed last week's loss to UNC Asheville due to a bad back, but is expected to start against the Eagles.

"I know they're hurting because of the way the conference season started, but the wounded dog is the most feared in the fight," Childers said. "I expect them to come ready to play hard."

According to Childers, Coastal Carolina plays much like the Eagles' first two conference foes -- High Point and Charleston Southern.

"Their style of play, personnel, some of the offensive and defensive sets are very similar to High Point and Charleston Southern," Childers said. "They're quick and very athletic. They can create some mismatches. It's a conference game and we'll have to play 40 minutes of good basketball."

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