Lady Pilots set to begin New Year
September 10, 2013
SHREVEPORT, La. - The LSU Shreveport Lady Pilots women's basketball team will begin the 2013-14 season on the road on November 8 against former Red River Athletic Conference foe Texas Wesleyan University in the Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Classic. The Lady Pilots will then take on, the also-departed from the RRAC, SAGU on Saturday November 9.
The Lady Pilots return two starters off of last year's team and four players overall. NAIA Honorable Mention All-American Jenna Diakos returns for her senior year as well as senior Victoria Smith. Diakos averaged 15 points and 7 rebounds in 31 games last year. Smith averaged 8 points and 9 rebounds in an injury plagued junior year. She only played in 12 games and had finger and knee surgery all in a matter of 4 months. Diakos also had off season shoulder surgery and both are eager to get back on the floor after rehabbing all summer. Coach Ronnie Howell starts his eleventh year as the Lady Pilots head coach, and will have to replace six guards, including two-time NAIA All-American Sharde Henry and two-year RRAC All-Conference player Christy Willis. Howell brings in five guards and two post players to this year's squad in hopes of returning to the NAIA National Tournament for the fifth time in six years.
NEW CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
A new look to this year's conference schedule will consists of games being played mainly on Friday and Saturday with an occasional Monday or Tuesday in the mix. The Presidents/Chancellors of the RRAC Institutions voted this to be during their off-season meetings to allow for the student-athletes to attend more classes and cut each schools travel cost for road games.
All RRAC regular season games for the Lady Pilots will begin at 5:30 this year as opposed to last year's option of playing early games on Saturday.
NEW RRAC TOURNAMENT FORMAT
With the departure of SAGU and the host of past RRAC Tournaments, the conference will adopt a new post season tournament format. The top six teams in the regular season will advance to this year's post season RRAC Tournament as opposed to eight teams in the past.
The no. 1 and 2 seeds will receive a bye in the first round while no. 3 host no. 6 and no. 4 hosts no. 5. The winners of the first round and seeds 1 and 2 will all meet at one site (TBA) for the semi-finals and finals to determine the champion.
RRAC SEES TEAMS DEPART
The Red River Athletic Conference will be missing three teams from last year's schedule. Texas Wesleyan University, Southwestern Assemblies of God University and Northwood University all moved to the Sooner Athletic Conference to begin play this season leaving the RRAC with 11 members: Bacone, Huston-Tillotson, Jarvis Christian, Langston, LSU Shreveport, Our Lady of the Lake, Paul Quinn, Southwest, St. Thomas-Houston, Texas College and Wiley College.
The Lady Pilots will still play two of the three departed schools in Texas Wesleyan (Nov. 8) and SAGU (Nov. 9) in the SAGU Classic to begin the season.
LSUS LADY PILOTS' SCHEDULE
The Lady Pilots will embark on a tough schedule to begin the season with the SAGU classic and then host some top-notch NAIA squads in the LSU Shreveport classic on Nov. 15-16. Our Lady of the Lake, Xavier University and Philander Smith along with LSUS will make the field of four teams for the first classic at The Dock. OLLU will take on Xavier at 5:30 on Nov. 15 while LSUS will face Philander Smith at 7:30. Day two on Nov. 16 will see OLLU against Philander Smith at 3:00 and then LSUS against Xavier at 5:00 to wrap up the tournament. The month of November wraps up at The Gold Dome in Shreveport against the Centenary Ladies, a team that LSUS handled at The Dock a year ago 86-54, on Nov. 19 at 5:30.
The month of December will begin with a long trip out west to take on University of the Southwest in Hobbs, N. M., on Dec. 7 and St. Thomas at The Dock on Dec. 13. The Lady Pilots will then hit the road for a couple of classics with the first in Batesville, Arkansas, to meet Lyon College on Dec. 17 and Shawnee State on Dec. 18. The second classic of the month will come on the heels of the 2013 in New Orleans at the Xavier Classic as they face Faulkner University on Dec. 30 and a New Year's Eve meeting with former Gulf Coast Athletic Conference foe, University of Mobile.
The remainder of the Lady Pilot's regular season schedule will feature all RRAC members to consist of 17 final games with eight at The Dock and nine on the road.
Notes: The Lady Pilots enter the 2013-14 season with a current six-game home winning streak...Coach Howell is 177-124 at LSUS...The Lady Pilots have posted five consecutive winning seasons with four of those seasons with 20 or more wins...LSUS has qualified for the NAIA National Tournament in four of the last five years.