Talented team suffers losing season

The Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team set the bar high over the weekend for the school’s performance over Big Ten basketball teams. In the Eagles’ 47-44 win Saturday at the Convocation Center, they sent the message that the team was in it to win it.

The women’s team, however, is struggling. At 1-7 under first-year head coach Tory Verdi, there is definitely a need for improvement. In the team’s last game Dec. 4, the Eagles lost a 66-65 heartbreaker to the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits.

While many would see a 1-7 record early in the season and immediately jump to the mantra, “You are what your record says you are,” it is still early and the team is adjusting to a brand-new system. Another positive point is that against the Jackrabbits, the Eagles were able to take a lead late into the second half.

The Eagles have some potent weapons. Senior center India Hairston, who has started all eight games, is averaging 7.6 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game and has made 10 of the 22 free throws she’s attempted, all while averaging 31.9 minutes on the floor.

Redshirt senior guard Miranda Tate is arguably the team’s biggest offensive weapon so far. She averages 14.4 PPG. And while she only averages 3.3 rebounds per game, she is an outstanding 19 for 24 from the free throw line so far in 2012 while averaging 29.5 minutes per game in her seven starts this year.

Junior forward Olivia Fouty is having a good season as well. With 10.7 PPG, she is second on the team in that category. She also averages 8.3 rebounds per game and is nearly perfect from the free throw line. She is 14 for 17 so far on the season. She also is the workhorse of the team, averaging 33 minutes per game while starting six of the seven games she’s played.

These three will have their work cut out for them Tuesday when the team takes on the University of Michigan Wolverines at the
Convocation Center.

The Wolverines are having a great season. At 7-2, the team stands alone in third place in the B1G. Michigan also won its last game Dec. 5 against Illinois State 56-45.

Michigan also has three major threats on the court, all of them seniors.

Kate Thompson is currently averaging 15.7 PPG. She doesn’t bring down many rebounds, only averaging 4.4, and is average from the free throw line, shooting 5 of 9. She does spend a while on the floor, averaging 32.7 minutes per game. The real story is her shooting from beyond the arc. She is 32-65 from three-point range this season.

Rachel Sheffer averages 14.1 PPG and 6.4 rebounds per game. She’s 5 for 10 from the free throw line this year. She is, however, prone to foul trouble. She has committed 22 personal fouls this year and has fouled out once in the team’s nine games.

The real star for the Wolverines is Jenny Ryan. The Saginaw, Mich. native currently has a respectable average of 12.9 PPG and 5.1 rebounds per game. She’s 22 for 33 from the free throw line and 14 for 27 from long range. She spends the most time on the court on her team, averaging 36.6 minutes per game.

Thompson, Sheffer and Ryan have started each of the Wolverines’ nine games and have all gotten out to a fast start. If Hairston, Tate, Fouty and the rest of the Eagles can isolate them, the team will stand a chance Tuesday.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center and will be aired on WEMU 89.1 and E-TV locally.

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