The Southern Arkansas women’s basketball team hits the court for the first time this season on Friday afternoon at the Central Region Challenge in Monticello.
SAU, which had an overall 3-25 record last season, takes on a pair of schools from the MIAA and the NSIC, Lincoln (MO) and Upper Iowa, respectively.
For the second year in a row, the Muleriders open with Lincoln in a 5 p.m. Friday game. The Blue Tigers took the win over the Muleriders at the W. T. Watson Center 64-55 last year; Lincoln also won this matchup in 2017 by a score of 62-57.
The Tigers only return two players who figured in their win last season – Kiara Shoulders and Alecia Gulledge. The two combined for 13 points in 56 minutes on the floor; on the year, Blue Tigers went 10-18.
The Tigers have dropped both of their preseason exhibitions – a 109-32 loss to Division I Missouri State and a 70-61 loss to NAIA Langston. Natasha Elliott and Virja Lewis were the high scorers in those games with nine and 13 points, respectively.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, the Muleriders face the Peacocks from Upper Iowa. The Peacocks' preseason saw them drop their matchup against Northern Iowa 67-40 as Jessica Musgrave led them in scoring with 11 points.
The Peacocks, like the Muleriders, only picked up three wins last season as they struggled in a deep Northern Sun conference, losing to regional participants Minnesota State-Moorhead in the first round of the NSIC Tournament.
This marks the first-ever matchup between the Muleriders and the Peacocks.
After this weekend, the Muleriders hit the road next Saturday to take on Mississippi College. Their first GAC game will be November 21 at Henderson State. The women will have a two-game home stand against Harding on November 23, and Missouri S&T on November 26.
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