BUIES CREEK, N.C.-Campbell will open play as the No. 4 seed in the 2012 Advance Auto Parts Big South Women's Basketball Championship against fifth seeded Charleston Southern at 2 p.m. Friday at the Millis Center on the campus of High Point University.
The Lady Camels, at 18-11 overall and 11-7 in Big South play, finished the regular season with wins in six of their last seven outings, including a 64-51 victory at Gardner-Webb most recently.
Campbell's 18 wins are the program's most overall victories since 2000-01 when the team posted 22. The team will also finish with a winning record for the first time since that season. This year will be the 20th winning season for Lady Camel head coach Wanda Watkins, and the 28th overall for the program dating back to 1972-73.
Campbell is led by junior guard Tonisha Baker at 14.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, who was named the Big South's Player of the Week for the second time this season on Tuesday. Baker averaged 28.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.0 steals per game in two road wins.
Baker opened the weekend on Friday at UNC Asheville, pouring in a career-high 31 points in a 74-55 win, adding 10 rebounds for her team-high seventh double-double. She followed that performance with a game-high 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals in a win at Gardner-Webb Monday night, her second consecutive game scoring 25 or more.
Katelyn Bass, a senior forward, averages 11.0 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds per game, gathering four double-doubles this season. Junior forward Jazmine Cooper averages 9.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, while senior guard Kate Cloxton posts 6.1 points and 4.9 assists.
Charleston Southern posted a 16-13 overall record and a 9-9 resume in Big South games in the regular season, dropping five of its last seven. The Buccaneers are led by redshirt junior Rachelle Coward at 18.2 points per game, adding 4.1 rebounds. Lakeitha Alston adds 16.5 points and a team-high 5.5 boards. Helen Terry and Erin Bratcher tack on 10.4 and 9.0 points each.
Campbell faced the Buccaneers twice during the regular season with the Lady Camels sweeping the series, 70-56 at home (1/21/12) and 76-58 on the road (2/20/12). The Lady Camels shot just a shade under 50 percent at .49.6 while holding CSU to just a 33.3 clip. Baker led Campbell with 19.0 points per game in the series, including a 25 point outing in Charleston.
The Lady Camels have won all 25 meetings against the Buccaneers in the all-time series dating back to 1980. 23 of those wins have come as conference rivals.
This season, Campbell rejoined the Big South Conference after a 17 year stay in the Atlantic Sun. Campbell, a founding member of the Big South, was 80-26 in eight seasons (1986-94) in its previous stay, making six consecutive conference tournament finals appearances from 1987-92. Campbell won the 1989 title game, and earned the 1990-91 regular season championship with a perfect 12-0 record in league play.
Tournament play will kick off at noon on Friday with No. 1 Liberty taking on No. 8 UNC Asheville. After the Lady Camels' game against CSU, No. 2 High Point will face No. 7 Coastal Carolina at 5:50 p.m. No. 3 Winthrop and No. 6 Radford will wrap up Friday's quarterfinal round with a 7:30 p.m. tip.
Semifinal action will get started on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Big South Championship game will be Sunday at 4 p.m.