Men’s and Women’s Basketball Preview


Both men’s and women’s basketball look to regain the crown of conference champion after losing to Maryville last season // Photo Courtesy of Will Richter and Nakiyah Washington

Presley Field, Sports Editor

Cave Arena laid host to last year’s impressive yet sour ending to the Lady Lions season as they fell to Maryville in the USA South Divisional Tournament. With an undefeated conference record, Piedmont was the favorite to win the tournament but ultimately would fall short. For returning athletes, this loss would be the motivation as the new season kicks off and the expectations couldn’t be any higher.

The Lady Lions are returning all five of their leading scorers from the previous season and look to be in line to dominate the USA South once again. “I think this year is the same as any year, we want to go as far as we can” said Junior Forward Nakiyah Washington. The Lady Lions have also bolstered their already loaded line up with an impressive incoming freshman class. “The freshman bring speed and they can also shoot the ball very well. Adding players that can shoot and match the tempo is good for any team. We know Coach Purdy likes to run and get after the other team and it looks like they can do exactly that,” said Washington.

Coach Jamie Purdy is notorious for her up-tempo, high-energy game plans that her team executes flawlessly every year. Purdy looks to implement similar game plans as well as make her team more versatile. “There are many factors that a coach must take into consideration going into each season, personnel being one of them. We must be flexible and willing to make adjustments based on our roster and other circumstances that arise,” said Purdy.

Matching the Lady Lions, Piedmont’s Men’s basketball team also had a great season last year. The Lions posted a 7-3 conference record but ended their season losing to Maryville in the USA South Divisional Tournament. As this season gets underway, the Lions face an interesting dynamic. Unlike the Lady Lions, the men’s team doesn’t have any incoming freshman.

“It’s very unusual to not have to show new guys around but it’s nice at the same time because we have the same team coming back with even stronger chemistry than last season” said Senior Guard Will Richter.

With no freshman to introduce to the program, this men’s team can now push their focus on to the current players and building off last season as they look to make a push for the conference championship. “As a veteran team, we’ve really tried to be great in the details. So many of our games are close, so being great in the details will be really important for us” said Neeley. With an experienced presence carrying this team, it might just be what the Lions need while they prepare to win a conference championship.

Another factor that could assist both teams in thriving, is the fact that there will be fans in Cave Arena once again. “I think we saw in our fall sports how much better it is having fans in the stands, and I know our guys are excited to have fans back for basketball as well” said Neeley. Coach Purdy and the Lady Lions also feed off the energy from the stands. “Having our students in the gym alongside family members and other fans from the community encourages an atmosphere that’s fun and energetic, which we thrive on,” said Purdy.

Both teams open their season this weekend in Cave Arena with the Men’s team hosting Bob Jones University at 7 P.M. on Friday November 5th and the Women’s team playing host to Berry College on Saturday November 6th at 4 P.M.