The University of Alabama in Huntsville women's basketball team (23-6) prepares for its first-ever NCAA Division II Tournament appearance on Friday evening when it opens up play at the NCAA South Region Tournament against Delta State. The fourth-seeded Lady Chargers and fifth-seeded Lady Statesmen are scheduled to tipoff at 6:30 p.m. CST at Warden Arena on the campus of Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.
Both the Lady Chargers and Lady Statesmen come into Friday's game after each team was ousted from the GSC Tournament by West Alabama last week. UAH fell in the GSC Tournament championship game as the No. 2 seed, and DSU dropped its game against the Tigers as the No. 1 seed in the semifinals.
While UAH is making its debut in the NCAA Tournament, the Lady Chargers will be facing a DSU team that is making its 24th trip to the NCAA Tournament in 26 years. It is the seventh straight season the Lady Statesmen are making an appearance in the field.
Friday's game will be the third between the two teams this season and 13th overall, with each team picking up victories on their home courts this season. DSU won the first contest, 92-74, in Cleveland before the Lady Chargers claimed game two, 71-57, in Huntsville.
In game one, UAH had its longest winning streak since the 2002-03 season of six games snapped despite three players scoring in double figures. Jasmine Hammon led the trio with 24 points, while Jordan Smith and Natalie Kelley added 19 and 10 points, respectively. In the second game, UAH snapped DSU's season-long 11-game winning streak and limited the GSC leading scorer, Veronica Walker, to just nine points - her lowest point total in the previous 47 games.
Though Delta State boasts the third-ranked scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 51 points per game, UAH owns the ninth-ranked scoring offense in the nation with 77.3 points per game. Additionally, UAH is the only team to score more than 65 points against DSU this year, and the Lady Chargers have done it twice.
Delta State enters the game with a 21-6 overall record and has won 15 of its last 17 contests. The two losses were to UAH and West Alabama.
UAH is led in scoring by the sophomore duo of Hammon and Smith with 17.4 and 16.6 points per game, respectively. Last week, the pair earned All-GSC First Team honors while Hammon garnered Daktronics All-South Region First Team honors this week. Aside from those two, UAH has received significant contributions from Natalie Kelley who is averaging 8.8 points and 8.9 rebounds and Bailee Robinson who is posting 11 points per outing.
Friday's contest will be broadcast live on www.RollinsSports.com/NCAAHoops. The winner of the game will advance to face the winner of No. 1 seed Rollins versus No. 8 seed West Alabama on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CST.