CHARLESTON — Looking at the stats, the Bradley women's basketball team doesn't shoot a high percentage from the field. The Braves are only shooting 39.1 percent from the field, including 29.8 percent from behind the arc, and only 65.9 percent from the free throw line. The Braves don't have a single player averaging double-figure points, either.
But the Braves are still able to score 65.3 points per game, mostly because the Braves have grabbed 89 offensive rebounds this season. Bradley, which is 4-3 on the season, is averaging 12.7 offensive rebounds per game.
The Braves are led by their forward combination of 6-1 sophomore Chelsea Brackmann and 5-11 freshman Nyjah White. Brackman has 16 offensive rebounds this season and White has 10. Plus the Braves have three more players who are averaging four or more rebounds per game and as a team, Bradley is averaging 43.4 rebounds and has a plus 3.4 rebounding margin.
"They've got good post play," EIU coach Matt Bollant said. "They get the ball inside and both posts are really effective post players who do a lot of stuff. We are excited to be back home. We played well against Evansville at Lantz and now we will see if we can get back to playing well at home."
EIU hosts Bradley at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Lantz Arena. It is EIU's first home game since Nov. 18 when the Panthers beat Evansville 79-52.
EIU is averaging only 34.7 rebounds per game and is a negative 10 in rebounding margin, so the Panthers have to find a way to slow down the Braves on the boards.
Brackmann leads the team with 8.3 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 8.4 points a contest. In the win against Illinois-Chicago on Saturday, Brackmann grabbed 15 rebounds and six were on the offensive end. Brackmann also had a double-double in the loss to Northern Illinois on Nov. 29 when she had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"We have to find her and not give her any space," Bollant said. "The offensive rebounds can be contagious. If she gets one or two, it gets them going. She's active and long and we have to find her and get a body on her and not let them get the confidence going with rebounding."
Offensively, the Panthers are only averaging 59.5 points per game and are shooting only 34.9 percent from the field, including 27.7 percent from 3-point range. EIU is shooting only 60.9 percent from the free throw line.
But the Panthers are coming off a good offensive game in the loss to Cleveland State. EIU scored 69 points and shot 46.7 percent from the field.
Bradley's defense has been tough this season and has held opponents to 33.9 percent from the field.
"I feel like we had the right approach (at Cleveland State offensively)," Bollant said. "We had a lot of good offensive possessions and Bradley is a better defensive team, so the baskets will be harder. Hopefully we run good offense and score."
Grace Lennox leads the team with 13.8 points per game. She is 45 points away from reaching 1,000 career points and would be the 24th Panthers to achieve the milestone. Lennox scored 24 points against Cleveland State.
"We need her to score and take a lot of shots," Bollant said. "She looked fast and played looser and we will continue to see that Grace. The 24 she put up against Cleveland State, she's capable of putting up those big numbers for us."