Trojans look to continue winning streak

Published 11:31 pm Friday, January 15, 2010

After two big conference wins over Florida International and North Texas, the Troy women’s basketball team will be in search of its third straight Sun Belt win today against South Alabama.

That win will not be easy to come by, as South Alabama (11-6) currently leads the Sun Belt with a perfect conference record of 6-0.

“South Alabama is one of the hottest teams in the league,” said Troy head coach Michael Murphy. “They’re unbeaten in conference play, and they’ve won nine of their last 10 overall, so they’re a very formidable opponent. They’re playing as well as anybody in the conference, if not the country, except, of course, for Connecticut or somebody like that.”

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According to Murphy, the Jaguars are extremely dangerous due to their ability to multiple things well.

“They’re very athletic, they play hard, they’re well-coached and they can score from a lot of different places on the floor, which is not a good combination if you’re the opposing team,” Murphy said. “But, they’ve got some length, they’re able to create pressure defensively and they can really go deep on their bench. I think the key word for them really is balance because of all the things they can do as a team.”

Troy (10-6, 3-3) does come into today’s game with a bit of momentum after winning its last two games, but Murphy said the team cannot dwell on its past successes.

“Anytime you win, it gives you a certain level of confidence, which always gives you a chance to win, but you can’t get a false sense of security,” Murphy said. “You’ve got to continue to work hard and focus on the things you need to get better at.”

The Jaguars will look to stifle Troy with an aggressive defense that ranks second in the conference in scoring defense and fourth in field goal percentage defense. Troy counters with a solid defense of its own, as the Trojans rank third in the Sun Belt in scoring defense and second in field goal percentage defense.

The Trojan offense is also one of the better offenses in the conference. Troy ranks third in both scoring offense and field goal percentage, but will have to find ways to deal with the pressure South Alabama will undoubtedly bring. Troy faced a pressure defense against North Texas, and wound up committing 30 turnovers in that game Wednesday night.

“We had 30 turnovers against North Texas and were able to win, but I can assure you that will not be the case against South Alabama,” Murphy said.

“We can’t have more than 14 or 15 turnovers and still put ourselves in a position to win. So, the question for us is whether or not we can take care of the ball, and in doing so, handle their pressure.”

Statistically, Troy is 10th in the conference in both turnover margin and assist-to-turnover ratio.

Troy and South Alabama tip off tonight in Mobile at 5:05 p.m.