The Missouri S&T women's basketball team is set for a couple of non-conference tests against NCAA Division II competition over the weekend.
Although it's not a true classic format, there will be four women's basketball teams in action on Billy Key Court at the Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building this weekend.
Today S&T hosts Minnesota Duluth at 3 p.m. And on Saturday the Lady Miners will take on Arkansas Monticello at 6 p.m.
Also on Saturday morning Minnesota Duluth will play Pittsburg State at 10:30 a.m.
"We needed a couple of games and Minnesota Duluth needed a couple of games but Pittsburg and Monticello only needed one, so we worked it out," said S&T head coach Alan Eads. "There is so much going on here this weekend it was hard to fit it all in. Normally we would have played the Saturday games back-to-back."
Today the Miner volleyball team will host Great Lakes Valley Conference rival Rockhurst at 7 p.m. at the Bullman Building, forcing the Lady Miner basketball game to an afternoon start.
And on Saturday at the Bullman Building the Pittsburg State-Minnesota Duluth game is at 10:30 a.m. followed by S&T's volleyball match against William Jewell at 3 p.m., the Lady Miner basketball game against Arkansas Monticello at 6 p.m. and the S&T men's basketball game against Robert Morris-Springfield at 8 p.m. In addition, the Miner football season-finale against Quincy is at 1 p.m. Saturday at Allgood-Bailey Stadium.
The Lady Miners, 1-0 after a 85-52 victory over Division III foe Westminster last week, will be helping the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs open their season this afternoon.
In exhibition action on Saturday the Bulldogs defeated Division III Bethel University 80-71.
Minnesota Duluth finished 14-13 last season, including an 11-11 finish in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).
The Bulldogs return several players from last season's squad, including 5-11 senior forward Katrina Newman, who averaged 15.9 points and 7.7 rebounds and was named the NSIC North Division Preseason Player of the Year.
Also back are 5-10 senior guard Megan Lueck, 5-7 senior guard Josephine Salmon, 6-2 senior center Hannah Rutten, 5-9 junior guard Jessica Newman and 5-6 junior guard Alyssa Kerkhoff. Rutten averaged 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds last season while Kerkhoff averaged 6.6 points and 5.0 boards and J. Newman 6.7 points.
"Duluth is a good team; they're physical and big," Eads said. "We're going to have to play well to win the game. It will be a good test for us. They've got their leading scorer back and a 6-2 center."
Saturday The Arkansas Monticello Cotton Blossoms are 2-0 after beating Lindenwood 84-74 last Saturday and blasting LeMoyne-Owen College 95-36 on Wednesday, both at home.
Page 2 of 2 - Against Lindenwood, the Cotton Blossoms trailed 35-28 at halftime but erupted for 56 points after intermission, shooting a whopping 87 percent from the field in the second half. Monticello finished the game shooting 60 percent from the field overall.
Monticello is trying to bounce back from a 6-21 record in 2012-13, including a 3-17 mark in the Great American Conference.
Back from that squad is 5-9 sophomore Jordan Goforth, who led the team in scoring at 12.8 points and added 4.8 rebounds. Transfers added to the squad this season are starters 5-5 sophomore guard Tamia Grady from Holmes Community College and 5-8 junior Monique Biggins from Northwest Mississippi Community College.
After two games this season Goforth is averaging 22.0 points, Grady 19.0 and 5-6 sophomore Nikki Mullen 18.0.
"Monticello is an athletic team," Eads said. "They're going to pressure and probably try to play fast. They had two kids who did most of the scoring in their opener, with 28 and 26 points. And they have a 6-3 transfer kid. They'll be quick and athletic - a whole different challenge on Saturday."
Eads says the two games this weekend will go a long way in sharpening the Lady Miners for Great Lakes Valley Conference play, which begins next month.
"It's hard to say (where we're at) - it's still early," he said. "We'll see how things turn out this weekend. We shot the ball well against Westminster. Obviously, these teams will be more of a challenge for us."
The Lady Miners got contributions up and down its roster against Westminster, including 18 points from 5-9 junior transfer guard Mia Wesley; 16 points from 5-9 senior guard Toni Knar; 14 points and seven boards from 6-2 senior Kylie Cooper, and 10 points and six boards from 5-9 junior transfer forward Jaaron Kassanavoid.