BLUE HOSE, TOMMIES AND GOPHERS
You can toss aside everything that you knew about the Presbyterian College Blue Hose. Okay, if you’re like me, that wasn’t much of a burden. Anyway, very little remains of last year’s roster. Of the thirteen players, eleven are newcomers: five freshmen and six transfers. However, we get two chances to increase our Presbyterian knowledge when they spin through the Twin Cities. It’s a whirlwind tour. PC plays at St. Thomas on Saturday night, launders up the uniforms, then make the trek to Minneapolis, to face Minnesota on Sunday afternoon with Floyd of Rosedale in attendance.
Even with two Minnesota connections, the familiar is probably unfamiliar. First off their head coach, Alaura Sharp
, is a 2006 Southwest Minnesota State grad. Sharp was named head coach in April 2018 arriving in Clinton, South Carolina after stints as an assistant at Louisiana Tech and Southern Mississippi. The Kansas native played two years at Fort Scott CC before finishing her college career at Southwest Minnesota. Her bio is all that I know.
The second Minnesota connection is Farmington’s Paige Kindseth
. The 5’9” sophomore guard is one of the team’s two returnees. Think of it as a Paige homecoming a year before THE PAIGE HOMECOMING.
Sharp and Kindseth are pretty much it for familiarity. As to history, the Blue Hose finished 8th last season in the 12 team Big South Conference with a 6-12 record (12-18 overall). That followed on the heels of a 5th place 10-8 record in 20-21. That’s the wrong direction for a coach on the rise. Hence, (where have we heard this before?) a roster remake. The Big South pre-season pollsters were only mildly impressed with the updated Blue Hose picking them for a 7th place league finish.
Presbyterian has played three games. The first was an 81-41 romp over Carolina University. The next two were games that before the season Alaura Sharp
said she would look at as benchmarks: Furman and Western Carolina. Both games were home games and both games were scrambles to the finish.
Against Furman, Presbyterian rallied from a first quarter 7 point deficit taking a 33-25 half time lead. Even better, they entered the fourth quarter holding a 52-45 advantage before the visiting Paladins constructed an 18-3, end of the game, run delivering Furman a 67-60 victory. The finish was a bit closer than it appeared as the Blue Hose closed to 60-62 with :30 seconds remaining.
What we learned from the loss:
6’3” fifth year senior center, Bryanna Brady
is an inside force. The Arizona native and the other returnee posted 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks. She is also foul prone. 5’6” freshman guard, Aubrie Kiescht
is a three point threat. Kiescht was 4-11 from three finishing with 14 points. The other freshman starter at guard was 5’5” Swede Tilda Sjokvist
who dished 7 assists and scored 11 points. One of the negatives (beside the defensive collapse that led to the loss) was that 5’7” starting guard Mara Neira
had an off night. Much is expected from the Spanish sophomore who arrived from Eastern Wyoming. Neira scored 3 points had 5 turnover and went 1-9 from three. That’s the good and some bad.
The win over Western Carolina was similar but included a fun ending. I caught the last three quarters of it on ESPN+. The Blue Hose operating a four out offense and generally playing man defense, led 26-19 at the half. Yes, the shooting was atrocious. The Catamounts picked up the offense in the second half to lead by 10 with 2:40 remaining in the game. Then, an Aubrie Kiescht
three cut the lead to two at the :37 second mark. That was Bryanna Brady’s
cue. Brady scored on a put back and then delivered the game winning layup off a nifty pass from 5’10” junior guard Christina Kline
with :07 seconds left. WCU’s quick guard Mya Love, who drove through the Blue Hose all night, failed to net a layup at the buzzer. An excited Presbyterian football team rushed the court.
What we learned from the win: Mara Neira
was ready to play with 22 points and 3 assists. However, she did have 6 turnovers. Once again Bryanna Brady
was hard to handle with 22 points and crunch time dominance. 5’7” freshman guard Ashley Carrillo
came off the bench for 10 points in 22 minutes.
Yes, PC has a football team which plays in the Pioneer League along with St. Thomas. In their last meeting in Clinton, St. Thomas ruined PC’s homecoming 46-17. Presbyterian women’s basketball representing a school of about 1000 students, travels to the Twin Cities on a winning note and perhaps looking to avenge the football loss to the Tommies. Or maybe not.
Mara Neira First Three Games:
Bryanna Brady First Three Games:
Probable Starters with This Year’s Stats:
Others With This Years Stats: