McMurry women to open conference play at Hardin-Simmons

BCH Sports

ABILENE, Texas. – McMurry University Women’s Basketball has rattled off four straight wins and will put their streak to the test on Saturday, as the War Hawks travel to cross-town rival Hardin-Simmons to open American Southwest Conference play.

Tipoff from Mabee Complex in North Abilene is scheduled for 1 p.m.

NOTES

SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE – McMurry and Hardin-Simmons each bring a 6-1 record into Saturday’s showdown. McMurry looks to build on its best start since the 2011-12 season, while HSU seeks its fourth consecutive win over the War Hawks. The last three games have been decided by eight points or less, including last season’s 69-66 final in Kimbrell Arena.

GETTING DEFENSIVE – HSU and McMurry own the two best scoring defenses in the ASC, as the Cowgirls rank atop the league with only 54.0 points allowed per game. The War Hawks are not far behind with 56.6 PPG allowed. Both teams also rank in the top three for scoring margin with HSU first at +25.3 and McMurry third at +14.3.

ABOUT LAST WEEK – The War Hawks picked up its fourth straight win this past Tuesday over Southwestern, winning 65-53. Senior forward Skyler Reyna scored 22 points with 15 rebounds for her fourth double-double in the last five games.

REYNA RECORD WATCH – A four-year standout for McMurry, Reyna ranks second on the all-time career rebound list at 799. Furthermore, Reyna has 1,195 career points to rank sixth on the all-time list and needs 49 to tie for fifth. Tarra Richardson (2004-08) holds both records with 1,015 rebounds and 2,164 points.

TWO-TIME PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Skyler Reyna racked up three straight double doubles against Nebraska Wesleyan, TLU and Schreiner, earning American Southwest Conference Player of the Week honors two weeks in a row. In that span, Reyna averaged 25.3 points and 17.6 rebounds per contest.

McMURRY IN THE ASC – McMurry is fourth in the league in scoring offense (70.9) and second in scoring defense (56.6). The War Hawks lead the ASC in defensive field goal percentage with opponents shooting just 32.8 percent. Opponents have also struggled behind the arc against McMurry, shooting a league-low 22.8 percent on three-point attempts.

REBOUND SEASON – A key component in McMurry’s early success has been rebounding. McMurry ranks 12th in all of NCAA Division III (430 schools) with a 13.3 rebound margin. The War Hawks also rank atop the conference in rebounding offense with 49.3 per game. In seven games, McMurry has 345 rebounds. Ozarks ranks second in that category with 287.

YOUTH MOVEMENT – McMurry has 14 freshmen and one junior transfer on the 2019-20 roster, joining the returning senior duo of Sarah Doherty and Skyler Reyna and returning sophomore Brittany Rodgers. The average age of the team is 19.05 years old.

EMERGING FRESHMEN – The War Hawks have a strong contingency of freshmen contributors … Destiny Mathews is second on the team with 9.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game … D’Asia White is tied for second on the team with 17 assists … Defensively, guard Taya Bridges leads the team with seven blocks and is tied for second with eight steals … Bridges and Trinity Meador lead all freshmen with seven three-point baskets.

DOUBLE TROUBLE FROM THE TRIPLE – As a team, McMurry ranks second in the ASC in three-point shooting at 33.3 percent. Just as impressive, the McMurry defense owns a conference-best 22.8 opponent three-point shooting percentage.

SIMILAR ROADS, SIMILAR FOES – Playing nearly the same non-conference schedules, McMurry and HSU are each 5-0 against common opponents. Both Abilene institutions own two-game sweeps over Schreiner and Texas Lutheran and a home win against Arlington Baptist.

SCOUTING HARDIN-SIMMONS – The Cowgirls have won three straight games coming into Saturday. Much like McMurry, defense has been a key ingredient for HSU allowing just 54 points per game, including a stifling 33 points to Centenary in their last win. The school across town also leads the league with 31 blocks. Senior Taylor Gaffney, the lone senior on the team, ranks fifth in the league and first on the team with 17.1 points per game.

SERIES HISTORY – HSU holds the all-time series advantage, 58-25. McMurry’s last win over Hardin-Simmons came on January 25, 2018 by a final of 70-60. The last two matchups at the Mabee Complex have been close, with HSU edging McMurry, 51-50, in 2018 and defending home court with a 72-64 win in 2019.

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