SLIAC play has started for the 2014-15 basketball season and this week's SLIAC Game of the Week features two teams looking to continue a strong start to the season; Fontbonne University and Principia College.
Fontbonne will travel to Elsah, Illinois to face Principia College in the teams' 2014-15 SLIAC opener. Fontbonne comes into the game with a 2-1 record while Principia is currently 3-1 on the season. Fontbonne and Principia tip off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, December 2. You can listen to the game live HERE
After dropping their first game of the season, 73-70 to Illinois College, the Griffins have responded with back to back wins. The Griffins defeated St. Mary of the Woods 98-87 and then Knox 93-88. The Griffins are an athletic team and like to work the ball inside, averaging just two three-point field goals per game but shooting 43.3 percent from the field, third best in the SLIAC. They also lead the league in free-throw attempts and made while ranking second in both offensive and defensive rebounding. Fontbonne is currently first in the conference in scoring at 87.0 points per game and feature the league's top scorer in sophomore forward Chelsy Gibson.
Gibson is averaging 24.3 points per game this year and earlier this season had a 34 point effort. Gibson is also averaging 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 61-percent from the field. Junior guard Erika Kuhn is averaging 17.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Emily Haring runs the offense; averaging 8.7 points and ranking third in the conference with 19 assists.
It has been a busy start to the season for the Panthers with four games in a two week stretch. Principia opened the year with wins over Crowley's Ridge and Robert Morris-Springfield before Millikin handed them their first loss of the year. Principia answered with a 71-59 win over Illinois Tech in their last outing, on Saturday. Principia is averaging 59.8 points per game, shooting 38.2 percent from the floor. The Panthers are the best free-throw shooting team in the league, knocking down 80.3 percent and are second in rebound margin.
The Panthers are paced by the duo of Kara Johnson and Rachel Perea. Johnson leads the team in scoring this season at 16.7 points per game and is second in rebounding at 8.3 per game. Perea, the 2014 SLIAC Newcomer of the Year, is averaging 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while ranking second in the conference in steals with 12. Karina Olsen has provided depth inside and is averaging 10.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
- Fontbonne leads the all-time series against Principia 46-7, with Principia's last win coming in the 2009 season.
- Fontbonne was picked 7th in the SLIAC Preseason poll with 27 points.
- Fontbonne's Chelsy Gibson made her mark in the Griffins record book with 34 points against St. Mary of the Woods, the fourth most points in a single game in program history.
- Principia was picked 10th in the SLIAC Preseason poll with 10 points.
- Princpia's Karia Olsen is just one of three players in the conference currently averaging double figures in both scoring and rebounding.
- Principia is looking to win their conference opener for the first time since the 2011-12 season.