Samford Women’s Basketball is currently 2-6, with their two wins coming against Montevallo (Nov. 14) and Murray State College (Dec. 4). However, the team has been dealt with a harsh pre-season schedule that was designed to challenge the reigning Southern Conference regular season champions.
Prior to last weekend, the team had only played two games at home thus far, resulting in a 75-50 win over Montevallo and a 53-56 loss to Jacksonville State. The other five games were on the road against Iowa, Southern Mississippi, Colorado, Northern Colorado and Troy.
There are several factors that could be causing the Bulldogs’ pre-conference woes. First, if the Bulldogs want to get back to winning ways, they will have to clean up the turnovers.
Samford is currently averaging 22.3 turnovers per game, a figure ranking 332 out of 348 qualifying teams in Division 1 basketball. Additionally, Samford’s assist-to-turnover ratio also is poor (0.6) which ranks 283 out of 348.
This is unlike head coach Carley Kuhns’ teams of the past. Her 2020 team averaged only 16 turnovers per game and the 2019 team’s figure was all the way down at 14.3. The turnover and assists ratio will likely sway closer to normal Kuhns’ caliber numbers as competition returns to SoCon talent levels.
On the bright side, senior Shauntai Battle is back in action and healthy once again. Before her injury last year, Battle was averaging 15 points. While she currently is only averaging nine points per game, getting back into rhythm and playing in strong synchronization with Andrea Cournoyer will be key to Samford’s offensive and defensive attack.
Luckily for the Bulldogs, the brunt of the non-conference schedule is in the rear view mirror. However, the team will still have to play Ole Miss and LSU before starting conference play. While the team is 2-6, three of those losses have come by less than eight points, a simple four possessions: four more rebounds, four fewer turnovers, four more steals.
It should also be noted that last season’s team started off the season 1-6 as well, which ultimately concluded with Kuhns’ first SoCon regular season title.
The standout talent on the team thus far is junior guard Andrea Cournoyer, the defending SoCon player of the year. Cournoyer is still playing exceptionally well and forward Annie Ramil is still dominating the glass. In their tight loss against Troy, Cournoyer had 12 points, eight rebounds and a whopping seven steals while Ramil paced the Bulldogs with nine rebounds.
Luckily for the Bulldogs, conference play is on the horizon, the section of the season that Samford has dominated in previous seasons. With this battle tested and uber talented lineup, the shooting and turnover numbers could certainly return to what coach Kuhns has expected and delivered during her tenure at Samford.
The Bulldogs’ will begin a three-game home streak that could potentially be the season’s turning point. The first game will be on Monday against Talladega College at 6 p.m., followed by Alabama A&M on Thursday and UAB on Sunday.