Women chase C-USA title


Michaela Roman

Head coach Keitha Adams and her team have received votes in the AP Top-25 poll.

Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor

The women’s basketball team returns to the Don Haskins Center to finish off their final conference home games, taking on Old Dominion on Feb. 25 and Charlotte on Feb. 27.

With two wins, the Miners (23-2, 14-1 C-USA) can clinch the top seed in the league. Under head coach Keitha Adams, the squad has not lost a game since Feb. 4. Since then, they have won five straight games, making their streak the second hottest in C-USA (Middle Tennessee-nine straight).

With their 23 wins, the Miners hold the best start in program history through 25 games. The 2011-12 Miners (29-4) hold the best finish in program history, followed by the 2007-08 squad (28-4).

After squeezing past Southern Miss (57-54) and stomping Louisiana Tech (72-65), the two-loss Miners are ranked 24th in the NCAA Division I RPI rankings and received 13 votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll and eight votes in the Associated Press Top 25.

They are one of six teams in the country with two or fewer losses. Four of those teams are ranked in the top six of the nation.

Weekend Recap

Cameasha Turner and Starr Breedlove combined for 32 points in their 57-54 win over Southern Mississippi. The Miners handed the Golden Eagles their first home loss (11-1) of the season.

Although they struggled against Southern Miss., the Miners rolled over Louisiana Tech 72-65 in Ruston, La. From 7:17 of the second quarter until 6:01, the Miners went on a 25-3 run against the Bulldogs.

“I thought it was a very hard-fought and spirited game,” Adams said. “Both teams really competed. I thought we played well for the majority of the game and I’m very proud of our team.”

A Starr amongst the nation

Guard Starr Breedlove is currently ranked fifth in the nation for steals per game (3.32), and sixth for steals overall (83). She recorded six combined steals this past weekend against Southern Miss. and Louisiana Tech.

The Miners as a team are ranked sixth for steals per game (12.0) and eighth in steals (300). They are also in the top 15 in the nation for forced turnovers per game.

Nothing new with Old Dominion

Old Dominion (12-14, 8-6 C-USA) is fighting for a fourth place seed in the conference tournament. They are coming off a dominant victory over Marshall (77-55), the only team to hand UTEP a loss this season. Old Dominion has won four of their last six games.

Junior Jennie Simms of Old Dominion leads C-USA in scoring, averaging 19.8 points per game. The Miners will have to key on her excellent jumps and ability to get to the hoop. She also leads her team with 93 assists for the season. In the win against Marshall, Simms shot 7-13 from the floor, 3-5 from 3-point range and totaled with 22 points.

Scouting the 49ers

Rolling on a four-game win streak, Charlotte (16-9, 9-5 C-USA) will bring their high-scoring offense to the Sun City. They rest atop the league in scoring, averaging 75.9 points per game. They are also first in field goal percentage, shooting 45.6 percent from the floor. This matchup, their first of the 2015-16 season, will be the best offense in the conference (Charlotte) versus the best defense (UTEP).

Their two best scorers, Alexis Alexander and Lefty Webster, are among the conference leaders in their respective fields. Alexander, of the 49ers, is third in the conference for field goal percentage (54.9), while Webster ranks third in both free throw percentage (87.4) and 3-point percentage (40.4).

Adams for C-USA C.O.Y?

In her 15th year of being the Miners’ head coach, Adams is a two-time C-USA Coach of the Year (2008 and 2012), and has made a case to be at the top of the contenders this season. She has turned around a team that was 12-16 last year to a 20-plus win team. Her overall collegiate head coach record is 396-220.

She has produced 20 players who have gone on to play professionally, and players who were coached by Adams hold 20 of the 23 major individual school career records. This is her seventh season receiving votes in the top-25 poll, and in the 2007-08 season, they were nationally ranked in the last six weeks.

Tip off against Old Dominion will be at 7:05 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25, at the Don Haskins Center.

Adrian Broaddus may be reached at [email protected]