LUBBOCK, Texas – Ready or not, Lone Star Conference play is here for both the LCU women and men.
The Lady Chaps (4-2) welcome the winless Lady Eagles to Lubbock at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Rip Griffin Center.
Steve Gomez’s Lady Chaps have won four straight after dropping the first two games of the season by a combined six points.
“I don’t know if you ever say you are perfectly ready for it, but we’ve seen enough different types of teams,” head coach Steve Gomez said. “We’ve grown up as a team ourselves, and found, hopefully, our identity.”
As one of the team’s five new starters, sophomore forward Grace Foster has stepped into a leadership role in her second season.
“It’s definitely been different,” Foster said. “We’re not last year’s team. We are nothing like it. We are building our own identity, and every day making sure we do what we can do.”
Foster has averaged a double-double and leads the team in scoring with 19.3 points per game and rebounding with eleven rebounds a contest.
“Grace has taken that on her shoulders and competed hard,” Gomez said. “Her defense has gotten better. Her aggression on offense obviously had to go up, and it has.”
Todd Duncan’s LCU men face Oklahoma Christian at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
LCU brings the top-scoring defense in the Lone Star Conference into the matchup with the Eagles, who lead the conference in scoring.
“Everything I’ve seen from them so far is really impressive,” Duncan said. “They are a team that brings almost everyone back. They’ve added a really good player from Southeastern Louisiana, who played in the Big 12 before that.”
Antonio Gordon joined Oklahoma Christian after spending last season with the Lions and starting his career at Kansas State.
He averages 13.4 points per game and is one of three Oklahoma Christian players ranked among the top 16 scorers in the Lone Star Conference.
Meanwhile, the Chaps (2-2) are coming off a 92-43 win over Arlington Baptist on Sunday. Five LCU players scored in double-figures, led by former Monterey Plainsman Russell Harrison with 20 points.
“I think Coach Duncan’s system is a great system, for the way I play,” Harrison said. “I have very unselfish teammates, and that helps when you play with guys that are unselfish.”
“His best basketball is still ahead of him,” Duncan said. “He’s seen enough basketball and seen it at a lot of different levels. He’s had a lot of success, so pour that as quickly as he can into these young guys.”
After Thursday’s meeting with Oklahoma Christian, LCU returns to action against Arkansas Forth Smith. The Lady Chaps tip off at 1 p.m., and the Chaps will follow at 3 p.m. at Rip Griffin Center.