By: Leigh Hadaway, Sports Information Assistant
ROME, Ga. — Closing out historic seasons, both the women and men’s basketball teams prep to open SAA Tournament competition on Friday night.
The women enter the tournament as the third seed and will tip off at Millsaps College against sixth seed Centre College on Friday evening.The men travel to Centre College as the second seed and will face Millsaps College in the quarterfinals on Friday evening.
Keep up with the games by following Berry Athletics on Twitter.
BERRY COLLEGE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:
Berry travels to Millsaps as the No. 3 seed with a 13-11 record and 9-4 in conference play. After a slow start to the season, the Vikings went on a nine-game win streak in SAA play to tie the team’s most conference wins in the NCAA DIII era. The Vikings average 58.7 points per game, and are shooting 67.7-percent from the free throw line and 34.3-percent from the field. The team also averages 38.6 rebounds and 9.4 assists per game.
The Vikings are led by Alex Weems, who averages 14.3 points and six rebounds per game. This season, the senior became just the third Viking in the team’s DIII era to score 1,000 career points. Jana Morning has also proven herself as a leader for the Vikings, averaging nine points, five rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.
The team has made headlines this season in their historic campaign. The Vikings were able to hold off the No. 1 ranked Millsaps Majors in an upset victory to extend their win streak to six straight games. Berry upstaged themselves two days later in a buzzer beater win hit by Madeline Sandman for a 60-58 victory over Birmingham Southern.
Berry is 2-0 against Centre College this season, winning 50-46 at home and 47-40 on the road. The Vikings faced the Colonels last weekend, and rallied from behind with 22 points in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. Weems scored a double-double in the contest, with Morning adding 12 points of her own. Berry capitalized on points in the paint, outscoring Centre 22-8. The Colonels are led by Kat Wilson who averages 11.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Tip-off for the quarter-final matchup is set for 8:00 CST on Friday night.
BERRY COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL:
The Vikings enter the tournament with a 18-6 record, which marks the most wins since the 2008-09 season, as well as 11-3 in conference play, securing the No. 2 spot in the bracket. Berry’s second place finish in the regular season marks the best in the team’s NCAA DIII era.
Berry is averaging 72.8 points per game, as well as 39.1 rebounds and 13 assists per game. The team is shooting 69.7-percent from the free throw line and 44.9-percent from the field.
Senior Elijah Hirsh leads the Vikings offensively, averaging 17 points per game. He has recorded nine double-doubles on the season, and leads the SAA in rebounds with a 9.1 average. Caleb Haynes has also been a force for the Vikings offense, shooting 69.9-percent from the field, leading the SAA in that category.
Berry swept Millsaps during regular season competition, winning 90-84 on the road and 65-52 at home. Four Vikings had double-digit games against the Majors in their February 1st contest. The Majors are 12-13 on the season and 4-10 in the conference, led by Michael Sullivan who averages 12 points per game.
The Vikings are led by Coach Mitch Cole in his first season. The team looks to defend their SAA Tournament title that they earned last year as the No. 8 seed.
Tip-off is set for 6:00 EST on Friday night.