Camels set for 2017 Big South Championship

(Will Bratton Photo)
(Will Bratton Photo)

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BUIES CREEK, N.C. --- Second-seeded Campbell will open play in the 2017 Big South Championship Friday night in the quarterfinal round at 6:00 p.m. The Camels will play the winner of Thursday's first round contest between No. 7 UNC Asheville and No. 10 Longwood.

Campbell will be appearing in its 15th Big South Championship seeking its second league title and the program's second trip to the NCAA Tournament. CU's No. 2 seed is the highest in a conference tournament since the 2000-01 season.

The winner of Friday's game will play the winner of the No. 3 High Point / No. 6 Presbyterian quarterfinal in Saturday's first semifinal matchup at 4 p.m. The championship game is set for Sunday at 4 p.m. The entire tournament will be played in Lynchburg, Virginia inside the Vines Center on the campus of Liberty University.

Live video coverage of all of Campbell's games at the Big South Championship can be found on ESPN3 via verification from the Watch ESPN app available on computers, smartphones and television streaming devices such as Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV. Free audio coverage with Bill Priestly on the call will be available at gocamels.com.

Live stat links can also be found at gocamels.com and in-game updates will be provided on the Camels' Twitter page, @GoCamelsWBB.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

LAST TIME OUT: Campbell (21-8, 13-5 BSC) suffered a 57-47 loss to Liberty in both team's regular season finale last Saturday. A 10-0 run for the Flames in the fourth period proved to be the difference after the Camels led for the first 34 minutes of the contest. Hayley Barber led CU with 13 points but Liberty scored 17 of the game's final 19 points.

ROUSE AND FISHER HEADLINE FOUR ALL-BIG SOUTH SELECTIONS: MaKala Rouse was named the 2017 Big South Defensive Player of the Year while Camel head coach Ronny Fisher was tabbed the league's Coach of the Year. Summer Price was named to the All-Big South second team while Brianna Cribb was an all-academic team member. Rouse was also tabbed as an all-conference honorable mention selection.

ROUSE: Rouse became the second player in program history to claim the conference's top defensive honor after Kiera Gaines in 2014. She ranks third in the conference in total steals with 58. That's an average of 2.0 steals per game, which stands fourth in the league. Offensively, Rouse is CU's second leading scorer with 8.8 points per game. She has increased her scoring average by nearly six points this season, up from her career average of 3.1 points per game.

FISHER: Fisher earned the program's fourth conference coach of the year selection and became a two-time honoree after earning the award in 2013 at Presbyterian. He led the Camels to the second-largest turnaround in program history. Fisher's Camels were predicted to finish eighth in the league according to the Big South preseason coaches poll. Campbell defied expectations and finished second in the conference, just one game back from the top spot. Fisher is the sixth coach in league history to earn top honors in his first year at a new school.

PRICE: Price is the 26th Camel in program history to receive all-conference honors. She is the team's leading scorer and that tally ranks seventh in the Big South. Price has recorded 21 double-figure scoring efforts this season. She is ranked fifth in the Big South in three-pointers per game (1.6) and sixth in three-point percentage (.331).

CRIBB: Cribb currently owns a 3.64 GPA as an exercise and sports science major with a pre-occupational therapy concentration. On the court, Cribb has taken on an expanded roll this season, as she has seen her minutes per game increase to 28.5 from just 5.9 last season.

EARLIER VS. THE BULLDOGS: Campbell swept the regular season matchups from the Bulldogs for the 12th time in program history. CU opened Big South play with a 61-55 victory in Asheville before edging the Bulldogs 61-60 in Buies Creek on Feb. 11. In the most recent matchup, UNCA's Bronaza Fitzgerald put up an attempt at a game-winning jumper at the buzzer, but it rolled off the front of the rim. Brianna Cribb averaged 9.5 points and 6.0 rebounds between both games.

EARLIER VS. THE LANCERS: The Camels swept the regular season matchups from the Lancers for the 6th-straight season. Campbell picked up a 66-54 win in Farmville on Jan. 21 and earned a 74-50 victory at Gore Arena on Feb. 4. Price averaged 20.5 points per game between both contests while Caroline Bowns averaged 13.0 Bria Emanuel averaged a team-high 8.0 rebounds per game versus the Lancers.

HEAD COACH RONNY FISHER: The Camels are in the first season under Big South Coach of the year Ronny Fisher. Fisher is coming off eight seasons at Presbyterian where he turned a brand new Division I program into a Big South contender in a short amount of time. He recently recorded his 100th victory on the sidelines and has the Camels 13 games over .500 heading into postseason play.

THE COUNTRY'S TOP DEFENSE: Campbell has had the top scoring defense in all of NCAA DI for the past 12 weeks, as their opponent's scoring tally sits at just 48.1 points per game. That's three points lower than second place Green Bay and five points lower than sixth place and national power UConn, who is ranked first in the national polls. CU has held eight opponents under 40 points this year including a season-low 30 by N.C. Central.

PROTECTING THE ARC: The Camels are ranked 25th nationally in three point FG percentage defense as they have limited opponents to just .278 shooting from long range. Campbell's overall FG percentage defense ranks 30th (.362).

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Campbell ranks in the top three in 15 different stat categories in the Big South.

LEADING THE CHARGE: Junior guards Price and Rouse are the leaders of the Camel offense. Price is averaging a team-high 12.9 points per game, which ranks seventh in the BSC. She scored in double figures in 12 of the last 14 regular season games and five of those were 20-point outings. Rouse set a new career-high point total five times this year and her season scoring average stands at 8.8 points per game with 12 double-figure scoring efforts.

THE LONG BALL: Bowns sits among the best three-point shooters in the Big South. Her .427 shooting from long range tops the league and ranks 17th nationally while her 64 threes and 2.21 treys per game ranks second.

DEFENDING THE STATE: The Camels are a perfect 10-0 against North Carolina schools this season.

ALL-TIME SERIES, UNC ASHEVILLE: Friday would be the 48th all-time meeting between CU and UNCA, the second-longest rivalry in Campbell history dating back to 1980. CU has won 11 of the last 13 meetings after sweeping the regular season series for the 12th time in program history. Each team has won one matchup in the Big South Championship after last season's win by the Bulldogs in the quarterfinals.

ALL-TIME SERIES, LONGWOOD: Friday would be the 19th meeting between the Camels and Lancers. Campbell is on a nine-game winning streak in the series after sweeping the regular season matchups for the third-straight season. Overall, the Camels lead the all-time series 14-4 and the teams have never met in the Big South Championship.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: UNC Asheville (15-14, 9-9) currently enters the Big South Championship with a .500 record in league play despite earning top billing in the conference's preseason rankings as the defending champions. The Bulldog offense ranks second in the league with an average of 65.5 points per game but its scoring defense stands fifth at 61.4 points per game. The Bulldogs have committed the fewest turnovers in the league (398, 13.7 per game), but they sit last in forced turnovers (13.55 per game) and steals (5.5 per game). Senior guard Chatori Major was named to All-Big South first team after ranking in the top-15 in the Big South in six offensive categories, including leading the conference in three-pointers made (2.4 per game, 69 total), second in three-point field goal percentage (.399) and fourth in scoring (14.3 points per game, 415 total). KJ Weaver was an honorable mention selection after leading the league in blocks (48, 1.66 per game) and ranking second in rebounds (231, 8.0 per game).

SCOUTING THE LANCERS: Longwood (4-25, 1-17) won just one Big South game during the regular season, a victory at ninth-seeded Winthrop. The Lancers have struggled defensively this year with the lowest ranked scoring defense in the league (76.3 points per game) and the lowest ranked field goal percentage defense (.455). Opponents are also shooting a league-high .353 against them from three-point range. Offensively, the Lancers are scoring just 54.9 points per game (eighth BSC) and shooting .357 from the field (ninth BSC). However, Longwood is forcing the third-highest turnovers in the conference with 16.93 per game. Eboni Gillam and Dayna Rouse lead LWU with averages of 10.7 and 8.8 points per game respectively. Gillam is pulling down a team-high 5.6 rebounds per game.

BY THE NUMBERS

21: The number of wins this season for the Camels, which matched a program-record for regular season play.

23: The program's single-season wins record, a number the Camels would surpass with a Big South Championship this weekend.

20: CU hit the 20-win mark in regular season play for just the 4th time in program history and the first since the 2000-01 season.

9: The number representing the win turnaround from last year's regular season to this year.

13: The number of Big South wins for the Camels this season, which matched a program record.

1989: The year of the Camels' last Big South Championship.

9: The number of threes Caroline Bowns hit at Winthrop, a single game program and Big South record

6: The number of Big South opponents that the Camels swept during the regular season. CU only swept two opponents last year.

16: The highest number of rebounds by a Camel in a single game. MaKala Rouse pulled down 16 boards vs. UAPB in Puerto Rico.

30: The highest single-game point total for a Camel this season. Caroline Bowns scored 30 points at Winthrop. It was just one of three 30-point outings by a Big South player this season.

7: The number of double-doubles for the Camels this season. Hannah Long leads the way with three, which have all come in in the last seven games.

.729: CU's defensive rebound percentage, the highest in the Big South.

12.3: CU's number of assists per game, the second-highest total in the Big South.

18.3: The number of points per game the Summer Price averaged between six games from Jan. 17-Feb. 4.