by Josh Ouellette
With the 2012-2013 basketball season in full swing here is a look at how the Cougars, both the men’s and women’s teams, are doing so far.
The Men’s team is 6-9 overall, with a 3-4 Pac West Conference record. The Cougars started off on the right foot, beginning this season’s Pac West campaign by winning their first three conference match-ups, beating Point Loma twice and Fresno Pacific.
Now Head Coach Justin Leslie has watched his team lose its last four games, all in conference play. This recent skid was started by the Red Storm of Dixie State with a humbling home blowout, and has been capped off by the same team with the Cougar’s losing in a close one, 67-59, when they tried to bring a storm of their own into St. George, Utah.
Led this season by two former division I guards, sophomore Troy Leaf and senior B.J. Porter, of UC Santa Barbara and Weber State respectively. Leaf is averaging 17.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, and Porter is second in team in scoring averaging 14.1 points per contest.
Another bright spot has been redshirt freshman forward Sharif Watson, he is averaging 4.9 rebounds per game, leads the team with 17 blocks, and is second on the team in steals with 13, bringing a much needed defensive presence to the Cougar backcourt.
On the women’s side of the ball the Cougars are off to a tad bit of a better start. In the Pac West they are 4-3, with a 7-8 overall record. Head Coach T.J. Hardeman’s women find themselves smack dab in the middle of the conference standings.
Leading the way for the Cougars are senior Amanda Sims, junior Hannah Kenny, sophomore Sullivan Ziegler and freshman Kelly Hardeman.
Sims is one of the only returning starters and has shown her leadership with her play, at the guard position she is third on the team in points, averaging 9.6 per game, all while staying in the top five for all other stat categories.
Kenny leads the team in scoring and rebounds, gathering 13.7 and 8.0 per contest, making her first season as a full time starter a successful one so far. She already has a season high in most major stat categories and at 5’11” she has been a dominating figure in the paint for the Cougars this season.
Ziegler has stepped into the point guard role left behind by Brianna Hall (class of ’12). The sophomore is averaging 5.2 points and a team-leading 5.4 assits per contest. Her impressive 34 steals are a team high.
The most pleasant surprise has been the play of Hardeman, who is second on the team in points, rebounds and steals, averaging 12.5, 7.0 and 1.5 respectively. She also is the team leader in shooting percentage from downtown and blocks, shooting 35% from behind the arc and stuffing 25 shots so far this season.
Both teams will take on Holy Names University (Oakland, Calif.) tonight, Jan. 30th. Women will tip off at 5:30 p.m, with the men’s team following suit at 7:30 p.m.