It will take a full team effort for the UPEI Panthers to knock off the defending conference champs, but they say they are up to the task.
The Panthers host the Acadia Axewomen tonight at 6 p.m.
“We are so much better than we’ve ever been, so we’re focused and we know we can beat them,” said guard Nakita Newman. “It’s just a matter of coming here Friday ready to go.”
The Panthers know it won’t be easy.
The Axewomen have a veteran team led by the conference’s top scorer, Kristy Moore, who is averaging 27.5 points per game this year.
“We have to stop her,” Newman said. “It’s not going to be one person who’s on her, it’s going to be all five of us focusing on her and shutting her down.”
Coach Greg Gould said the Panthers want to limit her touches, not give her open three-point attempts while being careful of her penetrating ability.
“We have to be able to contain someone like Kristy Moore. I don’t think you’re ever going to shut her out,” he said. “But we have to be careful that we don’t open things up for other people. There’s no easy solution.”
The Axewomen also have returning players, like point guard Lindsay Harris and Abbey Duinker, a six-foot-two forward who averages 10.8 points, six rebound and two assists per game, who are dangerous.
They also added former Baylor University forward Emily Nkosi this year. She is averaging 14 points and seven rebounds.
“They shoot a lot of threes,” said third-year guard Jenna Jones, who is averaging 12 points, 3.8 rebounds an assist per game. “We have to get out on their shooters . . . and help early.”
Offensively, Jones said the Panthers must not rush their shots while Gould hopes the team’s speed allows them to penetrate to the hoop.
He said the team is getting better each game and tonight will be the second top-10 team in the country it plays in as many games.
“I think we’re making progress,” he said.