MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Kaylia Richardson said it becomes a bonding process from here on out.
Barry University women's basketball team hosts Eckerd at 2 p.m. Saturday in the first of a three-game homestand at Health & Sports Center. The Buccaneers (12-9, 4-7 Sunshine State Conference) also have home games Wednesday against Nova Southeastern at 7:30 p.m. on Student-Athlete Academic Recognition Day and next Saturday on Senior Day to culminate Homecoming Week at 4 p.m. against Rollins. Barry will host a special event for the Make-A-Wish Foundation between the women’s and men’s games on Feb. 22.
"We're really concentrating on playing our game," Richardson, a junior forward from Indianapolis who has elevated her game to the tune of 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while shooting 50.6 percent from the floor. "Now we're just concentrating on pulling together."
Saturday's game, which will air on the Buccaneers Broadcasting Network with Danny Rabinowitz handling the call, is Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of cancer awareness.
The Bucs, who beat Eckerd by 14 in St. Petersburg on Jan. 18, own a 34-19 overall record in the series with the Tritons.
Eckerd's 6-foot-3 senior forward Liga Vente, a product of Valmiera, Latvia, is the Tritons' primary option. She's averaging 12 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 50.5 percent from the field. Vente had 10 points on 5 of 11 shooting with four rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
"She's an awesome player," said Richardson, who had 16 points and seven rebounds against the Tritons in the first meeting last month.
Eckerd shooting guards Amy Buccila (11.3 ppg, 41.7 3-point FG %) and Rana Thomas (10.9 ppg, 3.8 reb) are also adept scorers, as is point guard Kayla Bowlin, who is good for 10.6 points and a team-leading 4.3 assists per game.
Barry junior guard/forward Nyjah Porcher, a native of New Britain, Conn., has averaged 12 points and five boards in the past two games. Porcher has scored in double figures three times -- all since the midway point in the season.
"I just think that we all have that mentality at the beginning (of the season) that we all deserve to be on the floor," Richardson said. "So anybody that's just stepping up now, and they already have that mentality before it happened ... Nyjah's playing great."
A win to start the homestand would certainly boost the morale of this Bucs squad, who've been shorthanded in nearly every position at some point throughout the entire season. Barry's longest win streak was five in a row before and just after the Christmas break.
"We just have to play defense and play our game, and make sure we're mentally prepared for this game," Richardson said. "Because it's going to be a battle."
MAKE-A-WISH: Barry will host a special event for the Make-A-Wish Foundation between the women’s and men’s games vs. Rollins Sat. Feb. 22 ... Make-A-Wish is an NCAA Division II fundraising initiative ... Barry is trying to raise $15,000 to grant a few area kids with severe medical conditions wishes ... To donate to the cause, call 305-899-4823.
SUNSHINE STATE CONFERENCE TICKETS: To order tickets to the men's and women's Sunshine State Conference Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla., March 5-9, call 305-899-4823. Check out the SSC Championship Central page.