Lexington, Ky. – At the end of a challenging academic week in the form of fall semester finals, the Transylvania women's and men's basketball teams prepare to return to the floor of Don Lane Court after a week's worth of "rest" to resume Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play on Saturday.
The Pioneers women's and men's teams welcome the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin' Engineers for Game 4 of each team's respective conference slate. The Transylvania women (5-2 overall, 2-1 HCAC) will take on the Engineers for a 1:00 p.m. tip at the Beck Center, followed by the Transylvania men's (2-4 overall, 1-2 HCAC) showdown against Rose-Hulman to follow at approximately 3:00 p.m.
Each game marks the final conference matchup for both Transylvania squads before the turn of the calendar year. The Pioneers men's team will head into the academic winter break to participate in the seventh annual Don Lane Classic presented by Kentucky Health Administrators on December 20-21 as well as a nonconference home game versus Ohio University-Chillicothe on December 29. After taking on Rose-Hulman, the Pioneers women's basketball team will visit Spalding for a nonconference game on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., before breaking for a week until they host the Pat Deacon Classic in Lexington on December 29-30.
Transylvania Women vs Rose-Hulman, 1:00 p.m.
Transylvania prepares to face the Rose-Hulman Fightin' Engineers, the 2016 HCAC regular season co-champions for the first time in the 2016-17 season. Rose-Hulman slipped by Transylvania in both regular season meetings last year, winning 61-58 in Terre Haute, Indiana on January 2 and 65-61 in Lexington on January 16 of this year.
Transylvania enters Saturday's contest on a two-game winning streak and having won five of its last six games. Transylvania last played on Saturday, December 10, a 54-49 road win at Anderson. In what was a defensive struggle between the Pioneers and Ravens, the Pioneers emerged victorious thanks to their proficiency at the free-throw line where they shot 18-for-19 on the afternoon, compared to just 2-for-9 by Anderson.
Sophomore guard Celia Kline led the Pioneers in scoring against Anderson with 14 points on 4-for-12 shooting from the 3-point line, while fellow sophomore guard Kristen Hayes provided 13 points off the bench in the win. Kline currently ranks fifth in the HCAC in 3-point percentage shooting 38.5 percent from behind-the-arc entering Saturday.
The Pioneers boast reigning HCAC Player of the Week in junior forward Rachel Cox, who notched the program's third triple-double in last Wednesday's 71-60 victory at home against Hanover. Cox also set the Transylvania women's basketball single-game block record with 10 blocks to add to a monster line of 31 points and 12 rebounds. The junior followed Wednesday's performance with another nine points, nine rebounds, and three blocks in Saturday's win at Anderson. Cox currently ranks third in the HCAC in blocks per game.
The Pioneers continue to be a high-efficiency offensive team as it leads the conference in three-pointers made per contest (8.7 per game) and three-point shooting percentage (34.7 percent), as well as free throw percentage (79.7 percent).
Rose-Hulman will pose a defensive challenge on Saturday as it ranks second in the HCAC in opponent three-point field goal percentage (25.2 percent allowed per game) and first in opponent field goal percentage (31.5 percent allowed per game). The Fightin' Engineers have manifested an offensive attack in alternative ways compared to the Pioneers; Rose-Hulman ranks last in conference in three-point percentage and three-point attempts, but first in points per game allowed.
Transylvania Individual Stat Leaders
Points – Kline, 14.6 ppg (5th in HCAC)
Rebounds – Cox, 8.4 rpg (3rd in HCAC)
Assists – Ashley, 2.9 apg (6th in HCAC)
Blocks – Cox, 2.1 bpg (2nd in HCAC)
Steals – Kline, 1.6 spg (14th in HCAC)
eFG % (min 3 FGA per game) – Kline, 50% eFG
3 pt FG % (min 2 att. PG) – Kline, 38.5% 3 pt FG
Transylvania Men vs. Rose-Hulman, 3:00 p.m.
Saturday offers the first matchup of the year between the Pioneers and Fightin' Engineers, who defeated the Pioneers in both meetings last season; Rose-Hulman claimed a 72-63 win in Terre Haute on January 2 of 2016, while the Engineers grabbed a win in Lexington, 68-60 on January 23.
Transylvania enters Saturday on the prowl for its second win of conference play while trying to eradicate a two-game losing streak. The Pioneers are undefeated at home this season, taking victories against Thomas More and Bluffton at the Beck Center. Transylvania has employed a high-flying offense this year, ranking fourth in conference at 80.8 points per game, and ranking second in field goals made per game (29.7 FGM).
The Pioneers have unveiled a balanced and potent scoring arsenal led by senior guard Alex Jones, who is averaging 18.2 points per contest, and shooting 43 percent from the floor. Sophomore Cooper Theobald has provided plenty of support running the offensive along with other responsibilities, ranking second in scoring on the team at 17.5 points per game and third in conference in rebounding with 7.7 boards per game.
Sophomore Kyle Gullett is enjoying his first season with the Pioneers as he ranks third in scoring at 14.7 points per game, shooting 52 percent from the field and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Transylvania has shown off its defensive capabilities, ranking second in the HCAC in blocks per game at 4.5 per contest. Those daily efforts have been led by Gullett, who stands second in conference in blocks per contest with two per game.
The Pioneers have also taken care of the basketball, particularly in its three conference games. The Pios rank third in turnovers per game at 11.5 per contest, while they rank first in conference-only play in turnovers, committing just 8.3 per contest versus HCAC opposition.
Transylvania's last win in the series came in the final meeting of the 2014-15 season, a 71-60 win against the Engineers on January 24, 2015 in Lexington. Then-sophomore Alex Jones had 15 points in that game in a starting role.
Transylvania Individual Stat Leaders
Points – A. Jones, 18.2 ppg (7th in HCAC)
Rebounds – Theobald, 7.7 rpg (2nd in HCAC)
Assists – A. Jones, 5 apg (2nd in HCAC)
Blocks – Gullett, 2 bpg (2nd in HCAC)
Steals – H. Jones, 1.3 spg (16th in HCAC)
eFG % (min. 3 FGA pg) – McKinney, 61.6% eFG
3 pt FG % - Schmitt, 44% 3 pt FG (10th in HCAC)
Video livestream for Saturday's contests can be viewed at the following link – LIVESTREAM
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