Photo courtesy: Sarah Demuth
This weekend the Lady Pirates will roll into Panhandle Conference play versus Northwest Florida (NWF) with a spotless 16-0 record. Pensacola State (PSC) is currently ranked 10th in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll and currently holds the longest win streak in the nation.
The Raiders of NWF are the first of many formidable opponents the Lady Pirates will spar with throughout conference play. NWF comes into the game on Saturday ranked number five in the current NJCAA poll and sports an undefeated record of their own at 15-0. In fact, every team in the Panhandle Conference finds themselves ranked in the top 16 of the NJCAA poll with defending national champion Gulf Coast State retaining the number one spot.
The Lady Pirates are excited to start conference play and are looking to improve upon their 3-9 record in Panhandle play from last season. PSC sports a speedy team that pushes the tempo in the game and has produced a high scoring offense that is currently averaging 84.1 points per game. Sophomores Naterria Luster and Ta'Sheanne Armstrong are both averaging 13 points per game while redshirt sophomore Aminat Jubril is working hard on the glass and averaging 8.2 rebounds per game.
The Christmas break for the team ended up being longer than planned since the Pensacola State Holiday Classic was canceled due to two teams pulling out. While it's not optimal to go into Saturday's game having not played since December 9th, PSC is ready for the challenge. Head coach Penny Belford says the team came back in great shape and has been working hard. In an interview with Bill Vilona from the Pensacola News Journal Coach Belford is quoted, "They don't want to go out like we did last year in the conference. They know we can compete. They have busted their butts in practice since we got back in the gym."
Tipoff against NWF on Saturday is scheduled for 5:30 pm in PSC's Hartsell Arena. The Lady Pirate game will be followed by the men's game versus no. 1 ranked NWF at 7:30 pm.