By Greg Kuras
Although the Paladins have had a rough start to conference play with a 1-5 record, one player has really stepped up his game. Despite a slow start to the 2013-2014 campaign statistically, Kendrec Ferrara has started the new year with a bang, becoming a primary scoring option for the Paladins. His solid play complements sophomore point guard and leading scorer Stephen Croone. Dating back to the beginning of January, the sophomore big man has recorded double digits in seven of his past eight contests, including a career-high 27 points in the most recent 76-71 victory against the Citadel.
In these games, Ferrara has shot the ball extremely well from the field, around 60 percent, while maintaining his ability to spread the floor, shooting around 30 percent from long range. His recent increase in offensive production has been a plus for the Paladins as he continues to lead the team on the boards (5.8 rpg) and in blocks (1.1 bpg). With the unfortunate loss of freshman big man Kris Acox for the year due to a broken foot, Coach Niko Medved will call upon Ferrara to step up even more in order to make up for an already depleted frontcourt.
In other news, early this month Furman received two verbal commitments for the Class of 2018. Here are the new Paladins you can expect to see in the future: Geoff Beans, a 6’7” power forward from Toledo, Ohio, and Devin Sibley, a 6’2” point guard from Knoxville, Tennessee. Stay tuned for future articles to learn more about who these new Paladins are and how they will impact the team in seasons to come. The next chance to see the Paladins in action is Wednesday, Feb. 12, as the Paladins take on the Elon Phoenix at 7 p.m. in Timmons Arena.
The Furman women’s basketball team has been making a splash in the Southern Conference so far in their 2013-2014 campaign. After a brief two loss skid in mid-January, the Paladins bounced back with wins against UNC-Greensboro and Elon. The Paladins’ win against Elon was an especially significant moment. Down 65-63 in the closing moments of the game, Sarah Durdollar hit a clutch 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining to put the Paladins in the lead, 66-65, which would remain the score as time expired.
Despite the most recent loss on the road to Western Carolina, Coach Jackie Carson’s troops find themselves third in the Southern Conference standings, boasting a record of 6-3 and trailing only Davidson (7-2) and conference powerhouse Chattanooga (9-0). Leading the way for the Lady Paladins is the dynamic frontcourt duo of Brittany Hodges and Holli Wilkins. Since the beginning of SoCon play, the two forwards have been a reliable one-two punch in the scoring column, averaging 15.4 and 14.3 ppg, respectively. Hodges has looked like an All-Conference performer thus far, averaging near a double-double and establishing herself as a monster on the boards with nearly nine rebounds per game, second best in the conference.
Another key to success for Furman this year has come from the backcourt. Senior point guard Brigid Morrissey has provided leadership and demonstrated incredible ability to distribute the ball, leading the SoCon with 6.4 assists per contest. The Lady Paladins’ success can also be attributed to the outstanding play of freshman guard Whitney Bunn, who has contributed big minutes and points (9.1 ppg) off the bench since the beginning of conference play. The Lady Paladins will try to avenge a loss at Chattanooga earlier this season when they return home next on Saturday, Feb. 15.