EMPORIA, KANSAS – OBU Women's basketball tips off the 2016-2017 season against worthy Mid-America Athletic Conference competitors in the GAC/MIAA Challenge hosted by Emporia State University.
MIAA FAST FACTS:
The MIAA sent four teams to last year's NCAA Tournament in Missouri Western, Pittsburg State, Fort Hays State and Emporia State. ESU faced Pitt State in the bracket's third round and lost out by four as Pitt State went on to the Elite Eight round before getting knocked out by eventual Final Four qualifier Grand Valley State..
The Lady Lions will first test OBU at 5:30p.m. on Saturday. MSSU finished sixth in the MIAA at an even .500, 11-11.
Coach Ronnie Ressel takes the reins this year as his first head coaching stint after filling in holes in this year's roster with transfers.
MSSU returns seven players from the 2015-16 roster, including an MIAA Third Team selection in Deb Holcomb who averaged 15.4 points per game.
The last time the two teams faced off, the Lady Lions took the contest 72-63 as fouls plagued OBU's bigs and free throws sealed the game for MSSU.
NO. 4 EMPORIA STATE:
Picked first in MIAA pre-season rankings and fourth in NCAA DII, the Lady Hornets will take on OBU at 4p.m. on Sunday afternoon. ESU traveled to Waco last weekend to take on No. 4 ranked DI opponent Baylor and stayed neck-and-neck with the Bears until a fourth-quarter drought for the Lady Hornets decided the contest 89-60 in Baylor's favor.
Emporia State returns three starters from last year's roster, including All-American Kelly Moten who averaged 16.4 points and five assists per game. Following Moten is 2016 MIAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Kathryn Flott who put in 10.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per contest for the Hornets.
Last year's OBU/ESU bout ended in an 80-63 decision after what seemed to be the recurring story for the Lady Bison's 2015-16 season, who led at the half but let up on the gas in the third quarter.
After a tough test in Fayetteville, the Lady Bison look to learn from their undoing and put it into practice against their NCAA DII counterparts. At Arkansas, Tasha Edge led all scorers with nine and seven rebounds, as Autumn Avina and Aliyah White followed with eight and seven points respectively.