MEAC Women’s Hoops: N.C. Central begins conference play this weekend

Courtesy of North Carolina Central Athletics

DURHAM, N.C. – The North Carolina Central University women’s basketball team is coming off its most successful non-conference season since joining the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in 2011-12 and the Eagles will look to carry that momentum into league play that will begin with games at Morgan State University (Saturday, 2 p.m.) and Coppin State University (Monday, 5:30 p.m.).

NCCU WBB GAME NOTES No. 16/17: at Morgan State and Coppin State


Saturday, Jan. 6 at 2 p.m., in Baltimore, Md.
NC Central at Morgan State

Monday, Jan. 8 at 5:30 p.m., in Baltimore, Md.
NC Central at Coppin State


The Eagles are coming off a record-setting 108-39 home win over Virginia University of Lynchburg on Wednesday, marking the largest margin of victory (69) and points scored (108) in NCCU’s modern era (since 2007-08). NC Central (6-9 Overall, 0-0 MEAC) – picked sixth out of eight team in the MEAC Preseason Poll after finishing seventh last season – already has more wins than last season and its six non-conference triumphs are the most since the Eagles joined the MEAC in 2011-12.

Freshman guard Jerni Kiaku was named MEAC Rookie of the Week three times in non-conference play on the way to leading the maroon and gray in scoring with 11.5 points per game. Kiaku (8th) and junior Kimeira Burks (10th; 11.2 PPG) both rank in the top-10 of the league in points per game. Burks tops the conference with 2.6 made 3-pointers per game and .424 3-point field goal percentage.

NCCU has three other scorers averaging over eight points per game in sophomore Aniya Finger (9.4 PPG), sophomore Morgan Callahan (8.9 PPG) and senior Kira Lowery (8.4 PPG). Finger leads NCCU with 6.8 rebounds per game and three double-doubles. Lowery, NCCU’s team MVP last season, is third in the MEAC with 3.1 assists per game. Junior Blessing Okoh is filling up the stats sheet with averages of 6.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.

The Eagles enter play leading the MEAC in points per game (68.0), steals per game (12.00), assists per game (13.07) and blocked shots per game (3.87).

NCCU has lost five straight against Morgan State, including scores of 79-63 (Durham) and 62-57 (Baltimore) last season. Lowery averaged 14.5 points per game against the Bears last year.

 Against the other Eagle program in the league, NCCU has lost two consecutive games against Coppin State with both setbacks coming last season: 66-43 (Durham) and 84-61 (Baltimore).

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