GSW looks forward to season opener against neighboring Albany State

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

AMERICUS -- The Georgia Southwestern State-Albany State game may take place every year, but neither head women's basketball coach would exactly call it a rivalry.

It's more of a "kinship," according to ASU head coach Robert Skinner.

"It's just a good opener for both of us," said Skinner, whose team lost to GSW by double digits last year. "I know they're a tough competitor. They're always physical and they always shoot the ball extremely well, so they're one of those type of teams you want to open with because they're going to test you and see if your kids will do what you've been working on."

The Lady Hurricanes will definitely be a good test for the Lady Rams at 7 p.m. today at ASU's HPER Gym, as GSW returns three starters from a team that went 12-16 overall and finished fourth in the Peach Belt Conference last year. The Lady Hurricanes will also be hungry to start the season after finding success in their lone exhibition game -- a 62-55 win against D-I Jacksonville State.

"I think it'll be a great gauge (for both teams)," GSW coach Kelly Britsky said. "I actually watched a little tape on them (Monday) and they'll give us a good test. I think playing at Albany will give them a good 10-point (home advantage), but we're ready to play someone besides ourselves. Albany State is the first of many tough games, so we're ready to get down there."

Point guard Nadirah Gardner (7.1 points per game), guard Terra Branch (7.3) and guard/forward Kanita Holloway are the Lady Hurricanes to look out for, and some of the seven new players will be a threat as well.

"Those three girls are big-time leaders and have been through a lot and know what it takes to win in the Peach Belt," Britsky said. "Our new kids are (talented, too).

"(Tonight will be) a good, close game."