CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern enters this week riding a two-game Big South Conference winning streak as the Lady Bucs welcome the Presbyterian Blue Hose to the Buc Dome in a rematch of the conference opener played back at the end of November.
Charleston Southern and Presbyterian tip off on Saturday afternoon in the Lady Bucs annual Play 4 Kay game, with game time scheduled for 2 p.m. The Play 4 Kay game, held in to honor legendary N.C. State coach Kay Yow who passed away from cancer in 2009, is one of many games held throughout the month of February to raise breast cancer awareness.
Charleston Southern comes off a 2-0 week in which the Lady Bucs completed their season sweep over UNC Asheville and avenged an earlier home loss to Gardner-Webb with a victory over the Runnin' Bulldogs on ESPN3 inside Paul Porter Arena to improve to 8-14, 3-10 in Big South Conference play for the season.
On Thursday evening inside Kimmel Arena, DJ Fowler scored 17 points and Lakeitha Alston recorded her third double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Lady Bucs went up early and held off a late charge by UNC Asheville in closing out the 54-48 win and the season sweep over the Lady Bulldogs.
With the CSU lead in double-digits late, Asheville brought the game back to within two possessions following back-to-back baskets in the paint by Gentry Manley and Jeannie Buckner. CSU was able to hold off the run with tough defense over the final stretch, holding the Lady Bulldogs to two long three-point attempts which fell short as Charleston Southern pulled out the win.
In Saturday's action, Fowler scored a game high 19 points and added five steals in the contest as Charleston Southern avenged an earlier season defeat at home to Gardner-Webb with a 55-48 victory at Paul Porter Arena.
Erin Bratcher and Alston were also in double-digits with 14 points apiece for the Lady Bucs as Charleston Southern recorded their second road conference win in a row. Anicia Dotson led the way with seven rebounds and added a pair of free throws late to seal the road win.
The Lady Bucs have been led on the season by senior forward Lakeitha Alston who continues to work her way into the CSU women's basketball record books, entering the top 10 in points, field goals made and attempted, field goal percentage and free throws made and attempts. Alston has stepped up her play in conference games, recording three double-doubles this season and leads the way with 15.3 points per game on the season
Erin Bratcher and DJ Fowler are also in double-digits for the Lady Bucs, with Fowler coming off her best week in the CSU blue and gold in averaging 10.9 points per game on the season. She also leads the team with 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Bratcher meanwhile, is averaging 10.3 points per game, sitting firmly entrenched in the top 10 in the CSU record books in three-pointers made, attempted and percentage and is currently second in the Big South in averaging 2.7 made three-pointers per game.
Presbyterian (13-10, 8-4 Big South) Game Preview
In the first go-round between CSU and Presbyterian Karlee Taylor connected on a pair of late three-pointers, including the go-ahead basket with 1:36 left on the clock as host Presbyterian held off Charleston Southern in the Big South opener on Wednesday night inside the Templeton Center as the Blue Hose recorded the 58-57 victory.
Lakeitha Alston led the way with a game-high 25 points but the senior forward was unable to connected on the game-winning basket in the closing seconds for CSU as Presbyterian recorded their second win at home over Charleston Southern in as many seasons with the victory.
Presbyterian was led by the duo of Shonda Burnside and Dria David as they combined for 30 points, including 24 of the team's 33 in the first half on their way to the win. Burnside led the way with 17 points and seven rebounds, while David had 13 points and seven boards as PC held the 36-28 advantage on the glass.
Presbyterian built on a 9-3 run at the start of the second half, going up 40-29 following a Burnside layup, but Alston snapped the Blue Hose streak with a three-pointer, sparking a 7-0 CSU stretch in which Shay Jones converted a pair of free throws before Alston converted a layup to put the score at 40-36.
With the game tight the remainder of the way, Charleston Southern had two attempts to win the game over the final 90 seconds but were unable to find the bottom of the net, committing an offensive foul before Alston's last-second jumper fell short in dropping their conference opener on the road to the Blue Hose, 58-57.
Charleston Southern has the 10-4 all-time series lead over the Blue Hose, including winning five in a row inside the Buc Dome dating back to the 2007-08 season.
David and Mariah Pietrowski are both averaging double-digits in scoring in the 2012-13 season, with David leading the way with 10.5 points per game, while Pietrowski is right behind with 10.4 points per game, while leading the team on the glass with 5.5 rebounds per contest. Taylor just missed out on double-digits with with 9.9 points per game and leads the team with 57 made three-pointers, averaging 2.6 per game from behind the arc.
Defensively, Burnside leads the way with 20 blocks on the season, while Noelle Carter has 11 blocks off the bench for the Blue Hose. David leads the team with 46 steals overall.