Women’s basketball continues hot start

Junior guard KeKe Gunter attempts a long-range shot in North Alabama’s game against Auburn-Montgomery Nov. 29 at Flowers Hall. The Lions are now 6-0 entering Gulf South Conference play.

by Sports Editor Andrew Fulmer

The North Alabama women’s basketball team looks to continue their undefeated start to the season headed into conference play, coming off a 72-43 victory over the Trevecca Nazarene Trojans at home.

The Lions hold a 6-0 record and  are averaging 79.6 points per game.

“I think the big thing for us is to keep getting better every single day,” said head coach Missy Tiber. “(Whether it is) practice, games or whatever, that’s our approach. If you’re willing to embrace the process, which is the process of building, then ultimately the end result will be winning games.”

But the Lion’s are not just winning games, they are dominating.

UNA’s average margin of victory thus far is 28.4 points, which leads the Gulf South Conference. Offensively, the Lions put up the necessary numbers to put teams away, averaging 28.6 field-goals made per game and seven three point field goals a game, compared to opponents 19 field goals and 2.8 three pointers.

The Lions are also playing efficiently, as they average 15.6 assists per game and 17.4 turnovers per game, while opposing teams average 23.8 turnovers against the Lions. UNA also maintains their possessions, allowing 7.6 steals per game, while averaging a conference-high 14.6 steals.

During the game against Trevecca Nazarene, the Lions held the Trojans to 43 points and never allowed the Trojans to lead or tie the score.

“We played extremely hard,” Tiber said. “We had to grind some things out in the first half because they played a lot of zone, but we made the adjustments at halftime.”

Tiber said it was a good experience facing a primarily zone defense team after playing against mostly man defenses thus far.

“They limited us from doing what we wanted to do, and we had to work harder than we usually do offensively,” she said. “I thought we had an excellent third quarter. I think overall as a team, we picked up our defensive intensity and pressure in the second half, so I was happy with us.”

After a 87-55 victory over Auburn-Montgomery, UNA opens Gulf South Conference play when archrival Alabama-Huntsville visits Florence Dec. 4 in the latest edition of the “Battle for Highway 72.”

The Lions seek to avenge their losses last season as they were swept in the regular season by eight and seven points in each meeting.

“UAH is always a tough game,” said junior guard Jaclyn Heath. “Obviously, it’s a rival game so both teams are going to give their best efforts. UAH has always been a scrappy team so we have to be ready for that.”

The Lions lead the all-time series 51-23, but in the past two seasons, the series is split 2-2.

Tiber said the UAH game always has a high intensity and previous records can be dismissed in this anything goes rivalry.

“We don’t want to look ahead, but it’s the game we want to win the most,” said sophomore guard Elise Holden. “We don’t like them at all.”

After UAH, the Lions host another in state rival in West Alabama Dec. 15 and host West Georgia Dec. 19 before taking a hiatus during the holidays. UNA then embarks on their first GSC road game against Valdosta State Dec. 31.