On Wednesday, two women's basketball teams with a combined record of 1-12 will square off in eastern Vigo County.
Think that doesn't sound exciting?
Well, for the cheering sections, players and coaches of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and Rose-Hulman, they won't have the slightest bit of trouble getting motivated for the annual Dorsett Automotive Crosstown Classic to be played at 7:30 p.m. in Hulbert Arena. This also will be Rose's home opener.
The female Engineers have dominated this series of late, winning the last seven meetings against the Pomeroys. Last season, Rose-Hulman emerged with a 91-55 triumph behind 31 points from Ally Bromenschenkel. Still, SMWC leads the overall series 14-12.
Who's favored to win this year? That's not easy to determine.
The Engineers went 20-7 in 2018-19, 24-4 in 2017-18, 24-4 in 2016-17 and 23-4 in 2015-16, advancing to the NCAA Division III tournament in the middle two of those four seasons. But six seniors — including twin sisters Ally and Abby Bromenschenkel — graduated earlier this year, leaving Rose with only one senior for the 2019-20 campaign.
That would be 5-foot-7 guard Hannah Woody, who scored a career-high 19 points in a 74-53 loss to Division III No. 23-ranked Chicago last Tuesday.
But the Engineers have opened this season with an 0-4 record, so they're hoping a matchup with their cross-county rivals will put them in the win column for the first time since Feb. 22.
"We've got a lot of talented freshmen," Woody told the Tribune-Star before practice Monday. "We've just got to work on playing together and getting everyone on the same page."
Woody, who already has post-graduation employment lined up with GE Aviation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, worked on becoming the senior leader of the Rose-Hulman women's basketball program and preparing the younger players to be its leaders of the future in November. Despite their uncharacteristic record, 14th-year head coach Jon Prevo likes the potential that he's seen on the court so far.
"We're young and there's been more teaching [from the coaching staff] than there's been over the last two years," he mentioned. "We had to teach that group things [in the past]. But then as they got older, they understood stuff. We still continued to teach, but we didn't have to do the finer points. They already had the finer points down.
"This year, it's a great group of young ladies. They work hard. They come every day ready to go."
Regarding The Woods, neither Woody nor Prevo knows a lot about its personnel. They're more focused on executing what they repeat in practice.
"I'm pretty excited for it," Woody said. "We've just got to make sure we come together and make sure we come in with the correct mindset."
Prevo, who will have only eight of his preseason 12 players available for Wednesday's game because of injuries, knows enough about the 1-8 Pomeroys that he anticipates they'll attempt plenty of 3-pointers.
"Their goal is to score 100 points a night," he pointed out. "They've taken 675 shots up to this point and 400 [actually 396] of them have been from 3, so that's about two-thirds of their shots."
The Pomeroys' leading scorers (by average) are 5-10 senior guard Paetyn Hayes at 9.1 points per game, 5-10 sophomore guard Natalie Nickless at 9.0 ppg and 5-5 freshman guard Kalyn Williams and 5-5 junior guard Delaney Kendall at 8.3 ppg apiece. Sophomore forward Avalee Jeffers of Cory and senior guard Montgomeree Porter of Terre Haute also are on their roster. Their coach is Robert Belf.
SMWC's only victory was an 87-83 decision over Brescia on Nov. 9.
Meanwhile, Woody tops Rose in scoring at 9.8 points per contest, with 6-0 freshman forward Nosa Igiehon next at 8.5 ppg.