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Furman To Face Chattanooga, ETSU In Key SoCon Hoops Showdowns

Milica Manojlovic
Milica Manojlovic

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Coming off two impressive road victories, Furman's women's basketball team returns home for a pair of key Southern Conference showdowns at Timmons Arena, beginning with a Thursday, 5:00 p.m. matchup against Chattanooga followed by a Saturday, 2:00 p.m. clash versus East Tennessee State.

Both games will tip off home basketball doubleheaders, with Furman's men's squad set for games against UNC Greensboro on Thursday and VMI on Saturday.

In honor of National Girls & Women In Sports Day, all girls, eighth grade and younger, will be admitted free to Thursday's game if wearing a sports jersey.

For Furman (14-10, 6-3 SoCon), the contests versus Chattanooga (11-12, 6-2 SoCon) and ETSU (7-17, 5-3 SoCon) offer the Paladins an opportunity to make a run toward the top of the league standings.  Head coach Jackie Carson's squad is currently alone in third place, a half game behind second place Chattanooga and a half game ahead of fourth place ETSU.

Thursday's contest will be live streamed via ESPN+, and Saturday's game versus ETSU is slated for ESPN3.  Fans can also follow both contests with StatBroadcast live stats, with links to video and live stats available thru FurmanPaladins.com.

In both games Furman will be seeking revenge from January road losses to the Bucs (75-70) and Mocs (73-53).

Chattanooga had a three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday when ETSU knocked off the Mocs in Johnson City, 64-54.  The Bucs take a three-game winning streak into Thursday's contest at Wofford.

The Paladins didn't put up much of fight against Chattanooga in the season's first meeting, falling behind early and trailing 43-20 at intermission.  Eboni Williams' 15 points paced four double figure scorers for UTC while Furman junior guard Le'Jzae Davidson, who sat out the game's first half, paced FU with 14 points.

Last year Furman recorded its first season sweep of UTC since the 2001-02 campaign, knocking off the Mocs in Greenville, 58-57, and in Chattanooga, 50-45.

The Paladins opened the second half of their SoCon season in impressive fashion on Feb. 7 by steamrolling Western Carolina in Cullowhee, 53-28 — the 28 points representing the lowest tally allowed a Furman SoCon foe in program history.

Furman carried that defensive prowess on to UNC Greensboro last Saturday, where they smothered the Spartans, 59-49, to complete the season series sweep.  The Paladins limited the Spartans to just 29.7 percent shooting (19x64 FGs) while connecting on a season-best 8-of-17 shots from beyond the arc.

In the two wins over Western Carolina and UNCG, Furman, the SoCon leader in field goal percentage defense (.384), surrendered just 24.1 percent shooting (28x116 FGs).

The Paladins are paced in scoring by Davidson (16.7 ppg) and sophomore forward Celena Taborn (12.4 ppg), who ranks third nationally in field goal percentage (.678).

Furman has also gotten improved play of late from redshirt freshman point guard Milica Manojlovic (28 pts., 10x20 FGs, 5x10 3PFGs last three games) and freshman guard Jade Kirisome (10 pts. vs. UNCG).  The Paladins have also gotten solid rebounding work from senior Kaitlyn Duncan (7.1 rpg) and redshirt sophomore Tierra Hodges (7.7 rpg).

Hunter Reid, Sports Information