Bulldogs will likely secure the third or fourth seed after a stellar second half of the season
After entering the month of February with a conference record of 2-3 and appearing to be on the outside of the SoCon championship race, the Bulldogs currently sit at 7-5 in the Southern Conference.
Prior to their 79-67 loss to Furman on Thursday, Samford was on a formidable four-game win streak with wins against UTC, ETSU, WCU and UNCG. It appears that Samford is getting hot at the right time as they will end the season against the top three teams in the conference before heading to the SoCon tournament.
Samford’s offense, still led by guard Andrea Cournoyer, is tied for the conference lead in points per game with Wofford, scoring 70.4 points per game.
While the Samford offense has been a powerful unit all season, the defense has been the area needing significant improvement for a majority of the season. Just slightly behind Mercer, Samford gives up the second-most points per game with 65.5.
Samford is second in the SoCon in defensive rebounds, but they are second to last in defensive rebound percentage with a .686 figure. This figure means that while Samford is cleaning the defensive glass very well, there is room to improve in limiting second-chance opportunities for opponents. This limiting of possessions is crucial to continue the current success that Samford is experiencing.
The Bulldogs turnover margin is currently -1.82, ranking second-worst in the entire conference. Samford has struggled on both ends of the ball control game as they are only forcing 11 turnovers per game (second-worst) and turning the ball over 12.8 times per game (second-most). Limiting turnovers starts in the backcourt at the guard position by limiting transition turnovers and working with the ball to create open space for others.
Luckily for Samford, they have three strong guards leading the offensive charge. The experienced Andrew Cournoyer, freshman Mallory Hampton and Shauntai Battle have been able to create offense on the inside for Samford’s forwards Natalie Armstrong, Sussy Ngulefac, Annie Ramil and others.
Up next for Samford is Mercer at home for Senior Night — the final game before the conference tournament. The Bulldogs will likely enter the tournament as either the third or fourth seed, slating them to play the fifth or sixth seed team.
Once the regular season ends, the season comes down to a final push in the conference tournament, just three games to win it all. Samford has shown that they are capable of producing an explosive offensive against any team at any time.
Samford’s game against Mercer will take place on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. in the Pete Hanna Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Note: This article was written prior to the Samford Women’s Basketball games against Wofford on Feb 19. Some statistics, records and standings may be different from what was written at press time.