Tirae Stevens, Staff Writer
The Armstrong State University women’s basketball team opened regular season play Wednesday, Nov. 2, traveling to Charleston, South Carolina for an exhibition match against Division 1 College of Charleston. The Pirates ultimately came up short with a score of 66-57.
The Pirates led the way during the first quarter, leading 26-18. They maintained a steady lead during the second quarter, carrying a 38-32 lead into halftime. The Pirates carried a 46 percent-38 percent advantage in shooting over the Cougars.
College of Charleston battled back during the third quarter and had the lead narrowed to just two points by the end of that quarter. It would be missed shots and a 16-2 run from the Cougars that doomed the Pirates in the end, allowing Charleston to take the lead and the game 66-57.
Pirate senior Brigitta Barta led, scoring with 26 points and six rebounds. Junior Machala Raymonville added eight points, five rebounds and four assists. As a team, the Pirates went 19-52 in field goal shooting and 14-17 from the free throw line, compared to the College of Charleston’s 26-70 from field goal range and 7-15 from the charity stripe.
“I felt like we started the game well,” sophomore Brianna Gipson said of the team’s performance. “We came out and played them just like they were any old team and not scared just because they were Division 1.”
This is the first game of the regular season for the Lady Pirates, a season in which they are expected to finish ranked number seven out of the 14 teams in the Peach Belt Conference. The Peach Belt Conference released the preseason coaches’ poll Thursday, Oct. 27, for women’s basketball. The Pirates are expected to finish in the middle of the pack at number seven. Part of this is a result of how the team finished last season, with a 16-12 overall record and an 8-11 record in league play.
“I feel like we are ranked in the right spot,” assistant coach Amber Howell said regarding the placement. “We didn’t have a great season last year and we are bringing in a ton of new players.”
The players, however, are using this prediction as motivation to perform to the best of their abilities.
“Being ranked number seven in the preseason poll means that people don’t expect a lot from us,” Barta added. “This gives us the opportunity to prove people wrong and do the unexpected.”
Armstrong State competed against Division 1 rival Savannah State University Monday, Nov. 7, in the annual “Battle by the Marsh” game. They will return to action Friday, Nov. 11, hosting Wingate University from the South Atlantic Conference in the 2016 PBC-SAC Challenge tournament.