|February 04, 2016||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||NJIT|
|FG Percentage||.298 (17-57)||.404 (21-52)|
|3P FG Percentage||.292 (7-24)||.368 (7-19)|
|FT Percentage||.909 (10-11)||.571 (12-21)|
HORTON - 15
GRANDISON - 1
IRELAND - 1
DUDLEY - 1
SPAHN - 1
|February 06, 2016||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||UPST|
|FG Percentage||.414 (24-58)||.525 (32-61)|
|3P FG Percentage||.429 (9-21)||.529 (9-17)|
|FT Percentage||1.000 (14-14)||.833 (20-24)|
DICKERSON - 2
STARLING - 2
JORDAN - 1
NASHVILLE – To say that Kelli Smith and Loren Cagle, the starting backcourt duo for the Lipscomb women’s basketball team, were bound to have a strong connection both on and off the court would be an understatement.
Although the two have only been college teammates for two seasons – Smith is a senior and Cagle is a sophomore – the duo’s time as Bison teammates as reached five years.
The pair shared the floor first for one year in middle school and then for two seasons at Lipscomb Academy (then known as David Lipscomb Campus School). Before even stepping on the floor together for Lipscomb University, they had already been teammates for three seasons.
“I loved playing with Kelli so much in high school,” Cagle said. “I came in as a freshman, and I didn’t really know Kelli or the older girls that much, but they were so welcoming. Kelli made me feel at home as her teammate.”
Smith maintains that Cagle has always been the floor leader she is now.
“On the floor, not much has changed since high school,” Smith said. “She’s a player that makes things happen. She creates for herself and for her teammates. She’s insanely quick and knows the game.”
“Off the floor, we’ve always been close, but Loren was sort of shy in high school. I laugh about it all the time now because she is the complete opposite.
While praising Cagle’s ability, Smith also stresses how the point guard makes those around her play at a higher level.
“Loren came in to high school and immediately made our team better. She started as a freshman and contributed a lot both offensively and defensively.
“She’s always been a lot of fun to play with. She’s a player that makes the game easier for her teammates, and I don’t know many people I could say that about.”
As complimentary as Smith is about Cagle’s game, Cagle holds the same respect for Smith’s on-court abilities.
“I loved playing with Kelli on the court,” Cagle said. “She is a super smart player and knows the game very well. She knows what do and how to do it. I remember her just making smart defensive plays.
“Kelli is an awesome shooter and always has been. She has always performed her role very well.”
The familiarity has translated to on-court success for the twosome. Cagle is currently ranked fourth in the NCAA and leads the Atlantic Sun in assists with a 7.3 per game mark. Several of her assists go to Smith, whose .351 three-point field goal percentage is the seventh best number in the conference.
“A big part of basketball is knowing your teammates’ game,” Smith said. “Playing with Lo in high school definitely gave us an advantage in that aspect. We almost think the same way honestly. I can normally tell when she’s going to kick it to me on a drive. I think it helps us defensively as well with our rotations and knowing the other will be there to help.”
Basketball is often described as a sport where team chemistry can make a significant difference, and having a backcourt that is already comfortable playing together can only help in that department.
“I think that it does help that Kelli and I played together,” Cagle said. “We know each other’s game, which is a big part of communicating. On the court I feel like we communicate without even speaking. We sometimes just know where the other person is going to spot up on the three point line.”
The years of playing together in Purple and Gold on the court has helped them form a bond off it.
“She’s so much fun to be with,” Smith said. “I knew she’d fit in with our team, but I also knew she would be one of my best friends.
“On the court, I knew she would be an extremely valuable player for our team, and she has definitely proven to be that this year. She knows her role and always gets it done.”
As an upperclassman on both the Mustangs and the Lady Bisons, Smith has helped Cagle’s transition from middle to high school and now from high school to college.
“It was comforting to know that I would be coming in and knowing a familiar face and knowing that I would have someone to help me,” Cagle said. “It was exciting to know that we would be teammates and be able to play another two years together.
“Kelli is someone that I look up to and she helped me a lot in high school. I knew she would help me in college, with life in general, and with basketball."
The Lady Bisons will be taking on NJIT on Thursday at 6 p.m. followed by a matchup with USC Upstate on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Follow along with live stats and on live streaming.