Off to a strong 11-0 start highlighted by a pair of wins over NAIA ranked opponents last Friday and Saturday, the Campbellsville University women’s basketball team moved one spot up the rankings to the top spot as the No. 1 team in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll, NAIA officials announced on Wednesday.
This is the first time that CU has found themselves at the top spot in the NAIA poll since the 2015-16 season when they opened the season at No. 1 and also climbed back up to the top spot twice in January of that season. That team finished 27-8 and made a trip to the NAIA Tournament quarterfinals as they were led by a then senior Lindsey Burd who led the team with a 17.2 points per game average while grabbing 8.8 rebounds per game.
After starting the season as the No. 2 team in the poll, the Lady Tigers have met every challenge put in front of them during the early non-conference season, including three wins over ranked opponents. Those three were No. 16 Bethel on Nov. 8 in the MSC/SSAC Challenge followed by their two most recent wins against No. 14 MidAmerica Nazarene and No. 8 Westmont at the NAIA Invitational after Thanksgiving.
Two of those three ranked wins came by double digits with the win over MidAmerica Nazarene came by a 21-point advantage as CU currently averages a +25.6 scoring margin through 11 games this season. The large margin is in part to the Lady Tigers’ 84.7 points per game average but it’s large in part to their stifling defense throughout the season holding opponents to 59.1 points per game while forcing an average of 28.1 turnovers per game for a +12.9 turnover margin.
Breaking down the scoring by quarter for the Lady Tigers sees their most success in the first and third quarters, though they total to outscore their opponents in every quarter so far this season. However, in the first and third quarters, they have been outscoring opponents by over 100 points at 237-136 in the first and 275-170 in the third.
Individually, Campbellsville has been led by three scorers who average double figures in Madison Faulkner, Savannah Gregory, and Lexy Lake who all put the ball in the basket in different ways. Lake has been the top outside shooter for CU this season, Faulkner works mainly inside of 15-18 feet away from the basket and Gregory is a little bit of each style of game with the ability to shoot from distance and finish around the rim.
Faulkner is both the leading scorer and leading rebounder for the Lady tigers with a 15.1 points per game average and grabbing 5.9 rebounds per game. She is the reigning Mid-South Conference Player of the Week and NCCAA Student-Athlete of the Week after two 20-point games last week including a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double on Saturday against No. 8 Westmont.
Along with Gregory’s ability on the offensive end, as she is second on the team with a 13.4 points per game average, she is also ranked eighth in the NAIA with 32 total steals as she leads the shutdown defense for Campbellsville at the top of their trap zone.
Lake has been atop of the NAIA Division I rankings in a pair of three-point categories all season as she currently sits at No. 2 in total three pointers made (37) and No. 4 in three-point field goals made per game (3.4).
Campbellsville also boasts one of the best passers in the NAIA as point guard Caitlin Hall is second in the Division I with 68 total assists and a 6.2 assist per game average. She has also boosted her scoring average from last season after she finished 2018-19 at 4.7 points per game, she is now at 6.6 with a career-high 18 points against Marian University earlier this year.
The Lady Tigers will play their first game in four seasons as No. 1 against conference rival Lindsey Wilson College, who will head into the game at 9-1 and ranked No. 15 in Wednesday’s poll. Saturday’s game will be at the Biggers Sports Center in Columbia, Ky. and will be the only MSC contest for CU during the 2019 portion of the schedule.
Assistant Sports Information Director