Women's Basketball: Panthers return after long layoff to open USA South slate at Covenant

Women's Basketball: Panthers return after long layoff to open USA South slate at Covenant

The LaGrange women's basketball team returns to action Saturday at Covenant after a long layoff. The Panthers (6-2) have not played since defeating Toccoa Falls 52-44 on Dec. 4.

Saturday's game begins the USA South portion of the Panthers' schedule. Covenant (2-6, 0-1 USA South) lost 55-35 to No. 20 Maryville in its conference opener Dec. 12.

"We are excited to get back to playing games. It has been a long layoff for our basketball team and as a coach you always worry about that," said Coach Lee Buchanan. "However, we have had a good week of practice and the team has been focused all week. We can only control what we do so we are working to get better each day in practice. I know the team is excited to play so they don have to compete against each other every day in practice."

Freshman Marilauren Farr is averaging a team-best 8.8 points per game, plus pulling down 4.8 rebounds. Senior Madison Barker leads the team in rebounding, averaging 6.3 per game, while scoring 7.8 points per game. 

Sophomore Kymberli Payno is third in the USA South with 14 blocked shots. She needs only three more blocks to become the school's career leader. Payno currently has 44 career blocks, trailing Macie Hoard's total of 46.

The Panthers lead the USA South and are ranked 11th in NCAA Division III in scoring defense, allowing only 49 points per game. The Panthers have surrendered more than 60 points to an opponent once this season.

Covenant is led by junior Aleigha Williams. Williams leads the team in scoring, averaging 10.4 points per game. Freshman Joanna Smith is averaging 9.9 points per game and is third in the conference in rebounding, averaging 10.0 rebounds per game.

"There are no easy games on the schedule and starting conference play is always a challenge and starting on the road is even more difficult," pointed out Buchanan. "Covenant is a good club and I am sure they will be ready to go against us on Saturday. We will have to be sharp against them because they are quick and scrappy and can cause a lot of problems."

Covenant Info: 
Location: Lookout Mountain, Ga.
Colors: Royal Blue, White
Enrollment: 1,135
Head Coach: Sarah Harris
Record at CC/Yrs: 13-45 (3rd year)
Career Record/Yrs: 52-108 (7th year) 
2014-15 Record: 3-22 (2-14 USA South)

The Series:
Overall: LaGrange leads 8-2 (LaGrange has won 2 in a row)
at Mariotti: LaGrange leads 5-0
at Covenant: LaGrange leads 3-2
at Neutral Site: 0-0
First Game Played: 2000 (Covenant 63-41)
Last Game Played: 2015 (LC 78-49)