Lady Skyhawks prepare for conference clash on Thursday
Published 10:58 am Thursday, November 30, 2023
Point’s womens basketball team is on their pursuit of a second straight conference championship. The Skyhawks face their toughest challenge of the early season on Thursday as they face Loyola New Orleans at home.
At this point in the season, Point holds a 3-3 record and an 0-1 record in conference play. There is still zero panic throughout the locker room. The season is long, and the Skyhawks are still working to figure out certain aspects of their team.
“It’s still early,” Point coach Tory Wooley said. “We’re just trying to figure out our identity as a team. I’m excited for this group. We’ve been playing really good basketball here lately.”
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Last season, the Skyhawks finished with a 23-9 record and won the Appalachian Athletic Conference. This season, Point is facing brand new competition in the Southern States Athletic Conference.
The Skyhawks lost their first conference game of the season 77-73 on the road against Life University.
“We’re still feeling this new conference out with just one conference game under our belt,” Wooley said. “I’m excited about our future. This is a really good conference that we’re in. We’ve got to bring it every night. This conference is very athletic, and teams like to press and run.”
Mataea Boyd has stepped up to become the Skyhawks’ unrivaled leader through the early parts of the season.
Boyd is currently averaging just under 17 points per game. Boyd is also shooting 53% from the field and 48% behind the three-point line. Boyd set a new career high earlier this season as she scored 39 points in the team’s loss to Reinhardt.
“Mataea Boyd has been special,” Wooley said. “She’s our team captain. She has really grown both on and off the court for us. She has been way more vocal. She’s been playing really good basketball.”
Point has also begun to develop a dominant force in the paint. Ky’Leo Worriels’ role has gotten larger this season after starting all but nine games last season. Worriels is currently averaging a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds per game.
“I think Ky’Leo Worriels has also been playing extremely well for us,” Wooley said. “She’s been rebounding the ball well, protecting the basket. Both of those players have been playing really well. We’re excited about the growth and development of our team as a whole.”
The ultimate goal for Wooley and the team is to win the conference championship this season in year one of their tenure in the SSAC. It’s still early, but Wooley believes that the team’s shooting and rebounding could give them an advantage over several teams in the conference.
“We’ve got to continue to rebound and take care of the ball,” Wooley said. “Those two areas are areas that we really want to improve in. Those are the main two things that we’ve got to do to compete for a conference championship.”
Point has still done several things well early on. The Skyhawks currently lead the conference in free throw percentage, shooting nearly 71% from the foul line. Point is also near the top of the conference with nearly eight three-point shots per game.
Loyola New Orleans is currently rated as the No. 19 team in the NAIA. The Wolfpack are currently 5-1 on the season and 1-0 in conference play. Loyola won the conference last season with a 17-1 record in conference play.
“The thing about them is they do a lot of things well,” Wooley said. “Our three emphasizes against them are rebounding the ball, transition defense [and] taking care of the ball. If we do those three things, it’s going to be a game because I know we’re going to hit shots tomorrow.”
The Skyhawks tip it off against the Wolfpack on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in West Point. Point is currently 3-1 at home on the season.
“It’s always good to play at home,” Wooley said. “There’s nothing like having our family in the stands. There’s nothing like having the support of our Point community there.”