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Trojans perpare for game in New York

For the first time since Thanksgiving weekend, the Troy women’s basketball team will play two games in less than a week when they take the court against St. Francis today.

The Trojans are coming off a Dec. 19 62-39 conference-opening win over New Orleans, and must deal with the challenge of having to travel to Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., for a game on three days rest.

The game will be the final non-conference game of 2009 for Troy, as the Trojans’ only remaining out-of-conference game will come on Jan. 4 at home against Army.

On paper, the game appears to be a mismatch in favor of the Trojans.

Troy is 6-2 and 1-0 in Sun Belt play, while St. Francis is 1-7 and 0-1 in Northeast Conference play.

The statistics for the respective teams bear that perceived mismatch out as well.

Troy is averaging nearly 17 more points per game than St. Francis, and is shooting 43.8 percent form the field, compared to the Terriers’ 33 percent.

Part of Troy’s offensive success can be contributed to senior Alyce Shearing and junior Donette McNair. Shearing has developed a reputation as a 3-point marksman, as she has shot 50 percent from beyond the arc thus far this season. That percentage is good enough to rank her 17th in the nation in that category.

McNair, meanwhile, is shooting 55.6 percent from the field, 38th in the nation.

However, Troy has also been impressive defensively over the first eight games of the season.

The Trojans are third in the country in 3-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 19.7 percent from 3-point range.

Troy ranks sixth in overall field goal percentage defense, as opponents have shot just 32.6 percent overall.

Those numbers do not bode well for the Terriers, who are shooting just 26.7 percent from beyond the arc to go along with the aforementioned 33 percent from the field.

“We have a pretty simple defensive philosophy,” Troy head coach Michael Murphy said.

“We play half court man-to-man defense. We try to bend but not break, we don’t want to give up lay-ups or uncontested shots. We want the other team to take as much time as they have to, and not give up second shots. The big key to our defense is rebound the basketball and not give up second chances.”

Troy is also riding a wave of momentum coming into the game, as Troy recently defeated the Privateers 62-39 in Troy’s conference opener. Troy will break for Christmas after its game today against St. Francis. That game tips off today at 4 p.m.