Feb. 4, 2015
Women's Basketball Hits the Road for Two Vital Conference Games
The Central Washington University women's basketball team faces a pivotal week as they travel north to play Simon Fraser University on Feb. 5 followed by a matchup with Western Washington University on Feb. 7.
The Wildcats enter the week ranked fourth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings, with the top six teams receiving a berth in the conference tournament. Central Washington finds itself sandwiched between both Simon Fraser (6-5 in GNAC) and Western Washington (7-4). A pair of wins would help the Wildcats to at least a tie for third place in the conference standings with the potential of being just one game out of second place.
"We have a huge week ahead of us on the road against two teams in the top four of the GNAC standings," Head coach Jeff Harada said. "It's really important for us as a team to understand the opportunity we have and to play confident with a sense of urgency and purpose."
The Wildcats defeated Simon Fraser in the teams last meeting in Ellensburg last month, and was victorious in their last meeting in Burnaby, BC last season.
Central Washington lost a hard fought battle with the Vikings at home on Jan. 8 68-76. The Wildcats will be looking to break a 14-game losing streak to WWU dating back to the 2007-08 season.
"We've shown we can play on the road this year and if we are able to defend against these high scoring teams, we feel we'll have a chance," Harada said. "Obviously scoring with both SFU and WWU is important, but it'll be our defense that has to keep us in the games."
Leading the charge for the Wildcats will be Jasmine Parker who has been playing her best basketball as of late. She has scored in double figures in six of her last seven games, with two double-doubles. She has averaged 10.2 rebounds in the past seven games with 16 blocks, including a season-high of six against NNU on Jan. 24.
Parker has spearheaded a Wildcat defense that has given up 70 or more points just three times this season, even though seven teams in the GNAC average more than 70 points per contest. The Wildcats are second in the conference in scoring defense at 59.6 and opponents field goal percentage at 38.3.
"This is definitely an exciting time of the season where everyone is battling for playoff spots," Harada said. "We've put ourselves in a good position thus far, and hopefully we embrace the challenges ahead of us and rise to the occasion one game at a time."