The Franklin News-Post|
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Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|Difficult schedule awaits Ferrum|
Friday, August 10, 2012
By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor
FERRUM -- Bryan Harvey, Ferrum College's women's basketball coach, has revealed a sinister, mad scientist persona in developing his team's 2012-13 schedule.
The Panthers, the reigning USA South Athletic Conference champions and an NCAA Division III tournament participant last year, has added games against five teams that are always in the conversation when national postseason play is the subject.
Ferrum, a year removed from a school-record 23-win campaign, opens its season, Harvey's eighth as the Panthers' head coach, on Nov. 20 at Randolph-Macon.
A trip to Eastern Mennonite University follows the opener and later in the season, Ferrum will play Centre (Ky) College, Louisiana College and two games against new USA South member Maryville (Tenn.) College.
Centre, which reached the Sweet 16 of the Division III tournament, and Ferrum were in the same regional pod last season, while Maryville qualified for the NCAA tournament in its final season as a member of the Great South Conference.
"Our schedule already included perennial (Division III) powers University of Mary Washington and Roanoke College,' Harvey said in a college-prepared press release. "Adding Centre, Eastern Mennonite, Louisiana, Maryville and Randolph-Macon should give us a strength of schedule that rivals any other school.'
Ferrum will play Centre and Louisiana, an NCAA playoff participant last year, back-to-back in games scheduled for the "Coaches vs Cancer' tournament hosted by Huntingdon (Ala.) College.
Mary Washington, which has defeated Ferrum each of the last two seasons, finished 30-1 a year ago and reached Division III's Elite Eight. The Eagles and the Panthers will play in January in Fredericksburg.
Randolph-Macon was 23-7 last year, but did not receive an at-large tournament berth from the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, which was represented by automatic qualifier Guilford (N.C.) College.
Following the late December trip to Alabama, the Panthers will play two conference games in Georgia against new league members LaGrange and Piedmont, a noted women's basketball foe.
With expansion, the conference schedule has changed; the Panthers' third game this season will be their USA South opener -- it's against William Peace (N.C.) University.
Also, that game is the first of four consecutive games scheduled for William P. Swartz Gymnasium from Nov. 28 to Dec. 8.
The USA South will play an unbalanced, 18-game league schedule this year. In 2013-14, the conference will add Huntingdon and Covenant (Ga.) College, but lose long-time power Christopher Newport University.
Only eight teams will qualify for the USA South's postseason tournament this year.
During regular-season conference play, Ferrum will play William Peace, Meredith (N.C.) College, LaGrange, Piedmont, Methodist (N.C.) University, Greensboro (N.C.) University, and Maryville twice and CNU, North Carolina Wesleyan College, Averett University and Mary Baldwin College once.
The games against CNU and N.C. Wesleyan are at home.
CNU finished 22-6 last year, but lost to Ferrum twice at Swartz Gym -- by 24 points in the regular-season and by 26 points in the championship game of the conference tournament.
Greensboro was 22-5 last year.
Last year's combined record of the three new conference schools and Ferrum, CNU and Greensboro was 126-29. The three new league members produced 59 of those wins.