by Mike Potter
N.C. State will be favored in its final home game before Christmas this afternoon, while N.C. Central faces a big challenge on the road.
Kellie Harper's Wolfpack (6-4) will host Winthrop at 5 p.m. at Reynolds Coliseum, while Joli Robinson's Eagles will look for their first win of the season against South Florida in the USF Shootout.
Freshman Marissa Kastanek (pictured) and Bonae Holston are the Wolfpack's leading scorers.
South Florida won the WNIT last season. The Eagles will play the home team in the opener of the tournament at 4 p.m., followed by the other first-round game between East Carolina (8-1) and Houston Baptist (2-9) in which the Pirates will be heavy favorites. The final round of the tournament is on Sunday.
N.C. Central at South Florida
[Saturday, 4 p.m., SunDome, Tampa]
Records: NCCU 0-8, USF 7-3.
Coaches' records - NCCU: Joli Robinson 197-180; USF: Jose Fernandez 111-64.
Leading scorers - NCCU: Joanna Miller 17.3; USF: Jessica Lawson 16.1.
Leading rebounders - NCCU: Latoya Bennett 6.1; USF: Jessica Lawson 12.0.
Assist leaders - NCCU: Joanna Miller 2.6; USF: Jasmine Wynne 3.8.
N.C. State vs. Winthrop
[Saturday, 5 p.m., Reynolds Coliseum]
NCSU leads 1-0.
Records: Winthrop 4-5, NCSU 6-4.
Audio: WKNC-88.1 FM, GoPack.com, WinthropEagles.com.
Coaches' records - Winthrop: Bud Childers 437-339, 62-100 at Winthrop; NCSU: Kellie Harper 103-69, 6-4 at NCSU.
Leading scorers - Winthrop: Shanice Cole 10.1; NCSU: Bonae Holston and Marissa Kastanek 11.1.
Leading rebounders - Winthrop: Shanice Cole 8.4; NCSU: Lucy Ellison 7.1.
Assist leaders - Winthrop: Shelly Hankins 2.1; NCSU: Amber White 2.7.