The game - as well as all McM games in the ASC tournament this weekend - can be heard live in the Abilene area on KWWC 1340 AM with Kit Kimbrell calling the action. Links to live video and other tournament links can be found on the War Hawks' web site at mcmurrysports.com.
The War Hawks (18-7, 16-5 ASC) come into the tourney as the No. 2 seed from the West and were winners of 10-of-12 games to close out the regular season. (An ASC West Division team has won 12 of the 13 ASC tournament titles in the league's history.)
"The regular season tends to be somewhat long, especially in our conference" McM head coach Veronica Snow said. "To make it to the tournament is truly something where you just start over.
"Our girls come in with a lot of confidence, especially after the way we played our last two games; that they have the capabilities and are playing well at the right time to make a run for (the ASC title). There's a lot of anticipation in the air."
As a program, McMurry is making its eighth-consecutive ASC tournament appearance and 10th overall. The War Hawks have a composite record of 14-8 (.636) in the event entering 2012. Last year, McM was ousted by UT-Dallas in the first round.
McMurry - as well as the other seven teams - must all now make the adjustment and convert from the Thursday-Saturday schedule of ASC regular season games to a win-three-in-a-row attitude. The team which can do that will be rewarded with the ASC's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.
"To me it's a mental toughness issue," Snow reflected of the grind-it-out tournament schedule. "You have to push yourself to go until the buzzer sounds. We're going to try to play this game 30 seconds at a time; play better than the other team every 30 seconds and try to do that all weekend. Hopefully, that will help us come out on top."
In its first-round game versus Mississippi College, McMurry will also be looking to extract a bit of revenge after falling to the Choctaws - the ASC East No. 3 seed - by a 51-50 on a last-second basket at MC back on January 5.
Leading the way for the War Hawks will be sophomore Keshia Collins<http://mcmurrysports.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=2889>, whose numbers may look pedestrian alone, but are nothing less thasn eye-popping considering they are coming from one player in the same season. Collins tops the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game and rebounds at a clip of 7.0 per contest. As if that were not enough, she is also averaging 2.9 assists, 3.0 steals, nearly 1.0 blocks per game and also been in double-figure scoring in 22 of 25 games. All are team-leading statistics for McMurry.
But the key to the team's success has been its balance on the offensive end, where Snow has received help from all quarters. No less than six players average better than 5.0 points per outing.
Junior guard Rikeita Thomas is just a tic below double-digit scoring at 9.9 p.p.g., while also giving off 2.5 assists and 2.9 boards per game.
Senior post player Celeste Belizaro closed out the regular season with a string of three-straight double-digit point totals and upped her season average to 8.8 p.p.g. Belizario shoots an efficient 44.8 percent from the field and also cleans the glass to the tune of 5.6 caroms per game.
M.J. Vickers, a junior forward, has demonstrated her athleticism by scoring 7.4 p.p.g. and 6.6 r.p.g. Vickers, with 25 three-point baskets made, is second only to Collins (28) from beyond the arc.
Jamie Wilson has been Snow's "super sub," coming off the bench in all 25 games to average to give the War Hawks 6.7 points and 3.6 rebounds. Tory Salazar - who has also had a hot shooting hand of late - contributes 5.3 p.p.g., 2.7 r.p.g. and 1 7 a.p.g. to the team's cause.
Snow knows she's going to need the offensive output, up and down the roster, for McMurry to be successful this weekend.
"We're going to have to score," Snow assessed. "Defense is our forte and we have to keep that solid. But we're also going to have to score and that entails the girls taking their shots confidently. The biggest thing is going and shooting confidently and them knowing 'hey, if I miss my teammate is going to rebound'.
"We have to dictate our tempo. (Tempo) is going to be huge."