You’ve heard of March Madness, but are you ready for “Mask Madness?”
The Samford Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams have completed their 2021 regular seasons and will play in their respective Southern Conference Basketball Tournaments this week.
The Men’s Basketball team (6-12, 2-9 SoCon) has been led by head coach Bucky McMillan in his first season with Samford. Not only is this McMillan’s first season with Samford, but also his first season coaching a college basketball program. Before joining Samford, McMillan led the Mountain Brook High School team to several state championships.
Though the year started off strong, McMillan’s first year with the Bulldogs has had a fair share of challenges and obstacles. This included eight game cancellations, injuries and close losses.
The team’s top scorer, senior guard Myron Gordon, was injured on Jan. 14 against UNCG. Four days later, the team’s next top scorer, Christian Guess, was also injured. Neither have returned since their initial injuries in January.
This has forced several freshmen to expand their roles in the lineup. More underclassmen will have to increase their contributions in order for the Bulldogs to have a chance in the SoCon Tournament. The Bulldogs are the 10th seed in the tournament.
The Women’s Basketball team (14-8, 11-2 SoCon) has been led by head coach Carley Kuhns in her second season with the Bulldogs.
Last season, Kuhns led the Bulldogs to a Southern Conference Tournament title, and a berth into the NCAA Tournament. However, the COVID-19 pandemic sent the Bulldogs home early.
Despite this, Kuhns has kept her foot on the gas pedal. The Bulldogs will enter the tournament with the first seed after winning the regular season title last Thursday against Mercer.
The team’s top scorer has been junior guard Andrea Cournoyer, a recent transfer from Louisiana-Lafayette. Cournoyer averaged 18 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
The team’s frontcourt has been led by senior center Natalie Armstrong and junior forward Annie Ramil.
Like Cournoyer, Ramil is another recent transfer recruited by Kuhns. What may be more impressive than Kuhns’ recruiting skills is her ability to mesh new faces into her already established lineups. Having won seven of their last eight games, her Bulldogs are on a hot streak, and they have a significant chance at earning an NCAA tournament bid once again.
The Men’s SoCon Tournament will begin on March 3, with the Bulldogs playing their first game on March 5 against Mercer.
The Women’s SoCon Tournament will begin on March 4, with the Bulldogs playing their first game on opening day against East Tennessee State.