Updated Thu, Jan 2, 2014 12:05 pm
After six consecutive non-conference games, the ladies from Rio Grande are now gearing up for a different type of battle – the Mid-South Conference battle. Rio Grande will face the Patriots from the University of the Cumberlands this Thursday, which will begin its first night of conference play that will last through the rest of the season.
With a seven-game win streak, the RedStorm are coming into conference play with high hopes and much determination to change the expectations of the preseason poll, which had Rio Grande placed dead last at 10th.
The RedStorm are coming off a big win against Cincinnati-Clermont Monday night, where they overcame a two-point halftime deficit to charge to an 87-71 win.
The leading ladies for Rio Grande so far this season are junior guard Brianna Thomas and freshman center Brooke Marcum. Thomas leads the team with an average of 19.1 points and 5.4 assists per game, and Marcum pulls down an average of 8.9 rebounds per game.
While the RedStorm hold a comfortable 12-2 season record so far, the Cumberlands sits right on the edge, with a 5-5 record coming into Thursday night's game.
The Patriots, who are coached by former Rio Grande assistant coach Melissa Irvin, suffered a loss in their most recent game on Dec. 29. The Patriots have also faced a schedule in which six of their games have been against top-25 opponents.
Leading the Cumberlands are Julie Hayes, who averages 11.9 points per game, Lydia Cuff, who averages 6.2 rebounds, and Erica Layne, who averages 2.4 assists.
Winning this game would not only put Rio Grande at the 2-1 mark for conference play, but would also make for a perfect 5-0 travel record for the RedStorm this 2013-14 season.
Thursday night's game will be held at the O. Wayne Rollins Center in Williamsburg, Ky. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.