After enjoying a brief winter break, the Marietta Lady Pioneers went back to work Wednesday night in preparation for Saturday's non-conference game at Hiram.
Marietta (5-6, 1-4) has not played since a 66-42 loss to Transylvania Dec. 18, and will look to get back in the flow of things before the matchup this weekend.
"That's what (Wednesday) night was all about," said MC head coach Stacia Shrider. "Just trying to get the rust off and get back into basketball mode."
With many players heading home over Christmas break, the winter weather has made it difficult for some to return.
"We only had 10 players at practice (Wednesday) night," Shrider said.
Assuming the Pioneers get everybody back, Saturday's game should be a closely contested one. Hiram (5-5, 0-3) is similar to Marietta in a lot of ways.
"It should be an evenly matched game," Shrider said. "They have about the same scoring average as we do. They're best scorer (forward Samantha Morford) is averaging about 10 points a game. They have a couple averaging eight and seven.'
Shrider also said that Marietta's post play could be a big factor in the game. "I think they'll have a tough time defending our athletic forwards," she explained. "I think that our biggest strength is our post play offensively."
Leading the charge in the paint for Marietta is Heather Booth and Candice Alexander. Booth is the team's leading scorer, averaging 12.3 points per game and shooting 52 percent from the floor, while Alexander is tops in rebounding, grabbing seven boards a contest. Alexander also has a team-high 16 steals this season.
Booth, Alexander and Krissy Rowe are the only Lady Pios to start all 11 games this season. Rowe, the team's lone senior, is averaging 5.5 points per game while dishing out a team-leading 3.5 assists per game.
Tori Dixon has been the team's top outside shooter this season, hitting 20 3s in 55 attempts (36 percent) this season.
Also look for Paige Lamb, Sierra Sigman, Jessica Brogan, Lindsay Deemer, Shelby Maloney and Emily Jones to get significant playing time Saturday.
After Saturday, Marietta will be done with its non-conference schedule and will go back in to Ohio Athletic Conference play for good against Baldwin-Wallace Jan. 5. A win at Hiram could provide momentum for the remainder of the season for MC.
"We'd like to be .500 going into conference play," Shrider said. "We want to set the tone for the rest of the season."