Title images via North Carolina Central Athletics
The North Carolina Central University women’s basketball team will play two games on Thanksgiving week. The Eagles will try and wrap up potentially undefeated home stand when NCCU hosts Western Carolina University on Wednesday before starting a long road swing with a very short trip to Duke University on Sunday.
GAME NOTES:NCCU vs. WCU (PDF)
GAME NOTES: NCCU at Duke (will be published by Saturday)
Wednesday, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m.
Western Carolina at NC Central
Durham, N.C. (McDougald-McLendon Arena)
WATCH (NCCU Sports Network): LIVE STATS
Sunday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m.
NC Central at Duke
Durham, N.C. (Cameron Indoor Stadium)
WATCH (ACCNX/ESPN+); LIVE STATS
The Eagles will be playing their third consecutive home game in a six day span on Wednesday and they are 2-0 so far in that homestand. NC Central (2-2) defeated Mid-Atlantic Christian (W, 132-22) and Johnson & Wales (W, 83-50) to move back up to .500 on the season. NCCU’s game at Duke on Sunday will start at stretch of nine consecutive road games for the Eagles.
Senior guard Kimeira Burks ranks second nationally at the DI level with 4.5 made 3-pointers per game after a hot-shooting weekend. Burks 10 made 3-pointers on the way to a career-high 34 points against MACU followed up by five made 3-pointers and 25 totals points against JWU. Her 10 made 3-pointers on Friday is a new program single-game record and she leads NCCU with an average of 19.0 points per game.
Freshman Kyle Bryant recorded a rare triple-double in NCCU’s win over the Mustangs, logging 21 points, 10 assists and 10 steals. Bryant is averaging 14.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 3.0 assists per game through her first four collegiate games and her 10 steals broke a modern era program record for the Eagles.
NCCU has five other scorers averaging within three points of each other. Freshman Jada Tiggett made her debut this past weekend and is netting 10.0 points, 4.5 steals and 4.0 blocks per game through her first two collegiate games. Junior Janiah Jones has reached double-digit points in NCCU’s last three games and is averaging 9.8 points, 2.8 steals and 2.0 assists per game. Junior Nijah Cunningham follows with 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Both junior Morgan Callahan and sophomore Ray’ven Robinson are swishing 7.0 points per game. Callahan is coming off her first double-double of the season and she paces the maroon and gray with 9.0 rebounds per game.
The Eagles are 3-3 all-time against Western Carolina, including wins in their last three showdowns with the Catamounts. NCCU defeated Western Carolina, 74-66, last season in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Burks and Callahan scored 23 and 18 points, respectively, in that triumph.
NC Central will be playing Duke for the first time in 14 seasons. The Blue Devils won the last meeting 117-28 on Dec. 28, 2009 and they have a 5-3 all-time series lead on the Eagles.
The Catamounts dropped a 70-52 road tilt at Campbell on Saturday in their last game. Western Carolina (2-3) is concluding a four-game road swing and arrives to Durham 1-2 in away games.
WCU does not have a single player averaging over 10 points per game, but the top four scorers for the Catamounts have each played in all five games and they are all averaging within a half point of each other. Veterans Zanoria Cruz and Lonasia Brewer are tied for the team lead in scoring with 9.4 points per game. Brewer also paces Western Carolina with 5.4 rebounds per game. Junior Chelsea Wooten follows with an average of 9.0 points per game and is WCU’s top three-point threat as well as the team steals leader.
Senior guard Mya Love, who was name to the Preseason All-SoCon Team, scored 10 points against NCCU last season, but has not played in a game yet this season.
The Blue Devils are returning from the west coast after suffering a narrow 82-72 setback in overtime at Stanford last Sunday. Duke (3-2) will be playing its first game in seven days when the Blue Devils entertain the Eagles for the first time since NCCU became fulltime NCAA Division I members.
Duke boast four double-digit scorers on its roster. Sophomore Ashlon Jackson leads the group with 12.0 points per game, including a team-best 11 made 3-pointers in five games. Freshman Oluchi Okananwa is making a big impact as a rookie, scoring an average of 11.6 points per game while leading the Blue Devils with 7.6 rebounds per contest. Sophomore Taina Mair is contributing 10.8 points per game while leading the team with 3.4 assists and 2.2 steals per game. Junior Reigan Richardson is attempting the most shots for the Blue Devils on the way to supplying 10.6 points per game.
Forward Camilla Emsbo, who is averaging 7.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, is averaging a team-best 2.4 blocks per game for a Duke program that ranks seventh nationally with 7.2 team blocks per contest.