The Winthrop Lady Eagles return to the Coliseum for a 7 p.m. game today against Campbell. They last played at home on Dec. 7, when they beat George Mason. Since that game, they have had a game rescheduled and lost twice in the Bahamas Sunsplash Shootout.
Winthrop coach Bud Childers and his team are looking to break the two-game skid against the Fighting Camels in this game.
Campbell, out of the Atlantic Sun Conference, will be a good measuring stick for Winthrop. A charter member of the Big South from 1986-94, Campbell amassed an 80-26 record in the conference before leaving for the A-Sun.
Campbell (6-4) would be in first place in the Big South with half its six wins thus far coming against BSC schools. They have beaten High Point and UNC Asheville by double digits and got a nine-point win over Charleston Southern already. The Camels lost to Coastal Carolina on Nov. 17.
Many believe the Fighting Camels would like nothing more than to return to the Big South, especially in these economic times. The A-Sun spans from North Carolina to Florida, making some trips expensive.
Winthrop (4-5) has yet to jump into conference play. The Lady Eagles can get a pretty good idea of where they stack up since the Camels will have played five of the nine schools in the league after tonight. The Lady Eagles begin Big South action Saturday at Presbyterian.
North Carolina A&T is the lone opponent both teams have played. Winthrop beat the Aggies at home, 62-60, in the second game of the season. Campbell lost at home, 72-54, just 10 days ago.
This will be the schools' 22nd meeting. Campbell leads 18-3 and won the last contest, 79-64, in 2005.
Winthrop has been in an offensive funk the last three games. They are shooting poorly from the field (34 percent) and from 3-point range (13 percent). The Lady Eagles have averaged just 43.7 points per game in the three-game stretch including a school record low in a 65-27 loss to 25th-ranked Georgia Tech.
Ashley Haugtvedt is a bright spot offensively. In the last three games, she is 13-for-18 from the floor and averaged 9 points.
"(Haugtvedt) has always been a capable scorer. There aren't a lot of kids with her size and strength on the court," Childers said.
Senior Ashley Fann has scored just 17 points in the last three games and made 6-of-23 shots from the floor. The 6-0 forward paces Winthrop with 12 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest.
Childers said Fann has had periods in her career where she is out of her rhythm offensively, but she works through it. He doesn't talk to his leading scorer about it, but has come up with a new offense that he hopes to add some more points on the scoreboard.
Childers likes Fann's work ethic in practice and said, eventually, she will break out again with something like a 20-point, 15-rebound effort.
"We need to get off to a good start. We don't want to take the first half to get organized the way we did against Georgia Tech," Childers said.
A factor that may aid that goal is getting into a normal routine and game schedule.
The Lady Eagles play six of their next seven games at home and have only two more nonconference games on the schedule after tonight. Childers now hopes to build some consistency.
What Campbell does well is rebound and defend. The Camels top the A-Sun in both categories.
Campbell ranks 19th in the country in rebounding margin (+10.0) and 51st in field goal percentage defense (.356). The latter is one of Childers favorite stats and one that his team excelled in last year when they finished second to Connecticut.
Campbell has struggled in shooting 3-pointers and handling the ball. The team is averaging just over 3.5 3-pointers per game, and its 21.1 turnovers per game is worst in the A-Sun.
Ashley Williamson leads Campbell with 9.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. She had 16 rebounds against High Point on Dec. 9 and 18 against Division II Coker in the season opener.
Six players average 6.5 to 9.9 points per game. Lynisha Ochogu, a 5-7 forward from Charlotte, has come off the bench to lead the team in scoring two of the last three games. She scored 18 points at Winston-Salem State and 15 against UNC Asheville. The balance makes defensive game-planning tough for Childers.
"They have good balance. They rebound well, play good, stingy defense and shoot high percentage shots," Childers said.
• NOTES: The game will be televised locally on CN2. ... Senior Franchesca Davenport, suspended since Nov. 10 for violating team rules, is back with the team. Childers confirmed Monday that the 5-11 guard/forward's suspension was lifted. She has missed all nine games this season after being projected to start for the team this year.
There was some discussion about her undergoing knee surgery that would have potentially put her out of action for the season. But she obtained a second opinion, back home in Atlanta over the holiday break, where it was decided she wouldn't benefit enough from the surgery to have it done at this time.
Childers expects her to need "a week to 10 days" to get back into playing shape.