By Forest Stulting, Sports Editor
WIth the 2015-16 NCAA basketball season getting in gear, the 4-1 Furman women’s basketball team have already hit high speeds. To start the season, the Lady Paladins played host for the first five games, and after losing its opening game against Davidson 69-51, Furman reeled off four straight wins in dominating fashion.
In its second game, Furman defeated South Carolina State 59-46. Senior center Shianne Goodwin paced the Lady Paladins with 20 points off the bench to go along with seven rebounds and 4-4 from the freethrow line. Junior guard Whitney Bunn also had a strong showing netting 14 points to go along with four assists. The Lady Paladins controlled the glass by out-rebounding the Lady Bulldogs 49-33 and forcing South Carolina State to shoot 29 percent from the field.
The strong Lady Paladins defense continued against Converse in its next game beating the Valkyries 89-52. The Lady Paladins held the Valkyries to shoot 25 percent from the field while limiting Converse to five total assists. Furman’s offense was just as strong as its defense, with senior guard and three-point specialist Kelsey Ellis leading the Lady Paladins with 20 points, making 6-11 three-pointers. Senior forward Holli Wilkins also played a vital role in the win, scoring 17 points while shooting 7-10 from the field. In uncommon fashion, each member of the Lady Paladins roster registered points in its second victory of the season.
The fourth game of the season saw the Lady Paladins face its third in-state rival, the Clemson Tigers. The Lady Paladins once again had another strong defensive showing against the Lady Tigers en-route to a 70-49 win. The Lady Paladins held the Lady Tigers offense to shoot 30 percent from the field while forcing 18 turnovers. Wilkins once again showed her offensive prowess by scoring 18 points. Junior guard Allison Beasley also registered a strong performance, scoring 15 points while making 5-7 three-pointers. The Lady Tigers were still able to force a season high 16 Furman turnovers.
The last leg of the homestand pitted the Lady Paladins against the Winthrop Eagles, which Furman won 71-52. Just like the previous three games, the Lady Paladins defense stood tall, holding the Eagles to shoot 26 percent from the field while scoring nine points off of eight turnovers. Offensively, Bunn led the Lady Paladins with 27 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Sophomore forward Cierra Carter tabbed a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
After hosting Elon on Dec. 5, the Lady Paladins will go on a five-game road trip, not returning to Timmons Arena until Jan. 2 to face the North Greenville Crusaders.