Falcons Prepare To Host Air Force Classic
This week, Dec. 2-3, the Air Force women's basketball hosts the annual Academy Hotel Air Force Classic, featuring Bucknell, High Point and Stephen F. Austin. The Falcons will face Bucknell in the first game at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, followed by a 7:30 p.m. contest between High Point and Stephen F. Austin. The consolation game will be held Saturday at 2:00 p.m., while the championship will begin at 4:30 p.m.
• Air Force is coached by Ardie McInelly (Boise State, 1982), who is in her fifth year at the helm of the Falcons' program. She has compiled an overall record of 24-91 while at the Academy and holds a career record of 101-153 (10th year).
• Bucknell is coached by Kathy Fedorjaka, in her ninth year as head coach of the Bison. Fedorjaka holds a record of 121-111 at Bucknell and has a career ledger of 188-149 overall (13th year).
• High Point is coached by Tooey Loy, who is in his fifth season at the helm of the Panthers' program. Loy has compiled a career ledger of 64-54 at High Point.
• Stephen F. Austin is coached by Lee Ann Riley, who is in her fifth season as head coach of the Ladyjacks. Riley holds a 61-57 record at Stephen F. Austin and a career mark of 192-115 (10th year).
• Air Force is 0-1 all-time against Bucknell, as the Bison captured an 85-69 victory in 2003.
• The Falcons will face a new opponent in Saturday's contest, as Air Force has never played either High Point or Stephen F. Austin.
Scouting the Falcons...
Air Force improved to 3-0 on the season after defeating Utah Valley State, 97-70, and Weber State, 78-65, on the road last week. The Falcons shot 54.2 percent from the field, 48.5 percent from long-range and 86.1 percent from the free-throw line in the two games.
The Falcons have four players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Lauren Henderson, who is averaging 13.3 points and 6.0 assists per game. Meanwhile, Alecia Steele is averaging 13.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest. Pamela Findlay, firing 53.3 percent from three-point range, has 12.0 points per game, while Dawn Higginbotham, with a 78.6 field goal percentage, is adding 10.3 points per contest.
Scouting the Bison...
Bucknell finished its first homestand of the season with a 2-1 record, defeating both Coppin State and Siena by the score of 54-48 before falling to St. Joseph's, 59-55, on Saturday.
Lindsey Hollobaugh is leading the Bison with 13.6 points per game, while Kesha Champion is averaging 10.2 ppg. Meanwhile, Hope Foster leads the team with 7.8 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per contest.
Scouting the Panthers...
High Point, which will face in-state rival UNC-Greensboro on Tuesday, currently holds a 2-1 record after defeating Mars Hill, 57-49, and Gardner-Webb, 73-60, in its last two contests.
Katie O'Dell, the Panthers' top scorer in all three games this season, leads the team with 15.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest. Meanwhile, Candyce Sellars is also averaging double-figures in scoring with 12.3 ppg.
Scouting the Ladyjacks...
Stephen F. Austin went 0-2 at the Lady Rebel Shootout, hosted by UNLV last weekend. The Ladyjacks fell to UNLV, 72-66, in the opening round before dropping a 78-69 decision to Chattanooga.
LaToya Mills currently leads the Ladyjacks with 21.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, while Kirby Killingsworth is adding 12.8 points per contest.
How We Rate...
In the latest conference statistics released Nov. 27, Air Force found itself ranked at the top or near the top in several categories. The Falcons lead the MWC in field goal percentage (.488), three-point field goal percentage (.429), free throw percentage (.824) and rebounding defense (29.3 pg). Meanwhile, Air Force ranks second in scoring offense (80.7 ppg), scoring margin (+15.7), rebounding margin (+10.7), assists (16.67 pg) and defensive rebounds (26.33 pg).
In addition, several Falcons rank among the conference's top-10 individual leaders in various categories:
3PT FG Pct.
A Record-Setting Night...
The 97 points scored by Air Force against Utah Valley State are the most since the Falcons moved to the Division I level. The team also set Division I records for field goals made (32) and field goal percentage (.561) in that contest. Air Force later matched the field goal record, scoring 32 in the win over Weber State.
Can We Get a Foul?...
There was a significant foul discrepancy in Air Force's game against Weber State, as the Falcons were whistled for 17 infractions in the first 33 minutes of the game, compared to just three for the Wildcats. As a result, Weber State was allowed to stay much closer in the contest, despite not hitting a single field goal during a seven-minute stretch in the second half.
For the game, Air Force was awarded just 10 free throw attempts (hitting eight of them), compared to 26 for the Wildcats (who converted 23).
Can't Wait To Come Back...
With three more trips to the state of Utah on the schedule, the Falcons will hope for the same success they had this past week in the Beehive State. In the two games against Utah Valley State and Weber State, Air Force averaged 87.5 points while holding its opponents to an average of 67.5 points. They also shot 54.2 percent from the field, 54.2 percent from the field, 48.5 percent from long-range and 86.1 percent from the free-throw line in the two games.
Lauren Lends a Hand...
Sophomore point guard Lauren Henderson was dishing out assists left and right last week, first matching a career high with eight assists against Utah Valley State.
Henderson was even more impressive against Weber State, as she narrowly missed out on her first career double-double, finishing with nine assists--and just one turnover--to go long with her career-best 19 points.
Hitting the Trifecta...
After hitting just two three-pointers in their opener against Northern Colorado, the Falcons began to light it up from long range in the games against Utah Valley State and Weber State with a combined 16 treys.
Leading the way for Air Force from beyond the arc was sophomore Pamela Findlay, who scored half of the Falcons' three-pointers on the Utah trip, shooting 57.1 percent (8-of-14) for the week.
She's On Fire...
Junior Dawn Higginbotham literally could not miss a shot in the two games versus Utah Valley State and Weber State, going 9-of-9 from the field for the week, including a career-best 6-of-6 effort versus the Wildcats. She was also solid from the foul line, knocking down 6-of-6 free throws against the Wolverines before missing her first free throw of the season in the contest against Weber State.
After establishing a new career high with 12 points against UVSC, Higginbotham bested that total with her 13 points in the Weber State contest.
Crashing The Boards...
The Falcons had a significant advantage on the boards in the opener versus Northern Colorado, outrebounding the Bears 43-24. In addition, Air Force had as many offensive rebounds (18) as Northern Colorado had defensive boards, while sophomore Alecia Steele had as many offensive rebounds (6) as the entire Northern Colorado team.
Air Force has outrebounded all three of its opponents so far this season and holds a +10.7 rebounding margin.
Getting It Done On The Line...
While the Falcons often struggled from the charity stripe last season, they have been impressive so far this year, shooting .824 from the line. After finishing just over 78 percent (25-of-32) against Northern Colorado, Air Force followed by hitting 23-of-26 free throw attempts (.885) against Utah Valley State. The trend continued against Weber State, as the team shot 80 percent from the line, despite attempting just 10 foul shots.
While Air Force has improved in most of its statistical categories this season, it has struggled somewhat with turnovers, finishing with 25 and 24, respectively, in games against Northern Colorado and Utah Valley State. Even so, the Falcons rebounded by committing just 13 turnovers against Weber State and have a +0.7 turnover margin against their opponents this season.
In the Record Books...
Letricia Castillo continues to move up in the record books in more than one category. The junior currently sits tied for 27th place on the career scoring list with 642 points and could break into the top 15 by year's end. In addition, Castillo also ranks eighth in both career three-point field goals made and attempted.
Meanwhile, sophomore Ellen Jaeschke, who recorded a pair of blocks in the win over Weber State, sits in 10th place on the list of career blocked shots with 28.
Hitting The Century Mark...
With the victory over Utah Valley State, Air Force head coach Ardie McInelly captured her 100th career win, becoming the sixth coach in the Mountain West Conference to reach 100 career wins.
The Falcons embark on their second road trip of the year next week, traveling to Utah State on Dec. 8, followed by a contest at Montana State on Dec. 10.