As the clock slowly ticks on the regular season, Northwest women’s basketball continues to make strides to finish the 2018-19 journey on a high note and look toward the future.
With only four games left on the regular season schedule, the Bearcats (7-17, 3-12 MIAA) look to close out the year successfully, ending the seven-game skid they’ve endured.
After taking losses to Central Missouri (18-5, 11-4 MIAA) and Southwest Baptist (7-17, 3-12 MIAA) Feb. 13 and 16 in Bearcat Arena, Northwest is preparing for its final road stretch, traveling to Warrensburg to take on the Jennies and Bolivar to contend for the MIAA’s top Bearcat. These contests will be rematches of the Feb. 13-16 games.
“We’ve got 10 guaranteed days left, so we, as a coaching staff, talked to the team and told them to go to work, finish it strong, to have a little fun and to keep getting better,” coach Austin Meyer said. “Fortunately for us, we are headed out on the road where we have been able to win a few games.”
The road to success in the last four matchups isn’t going to be an easy feat for Northwest, as Central Missouri welcomes the Bearcats into its facilities Feb. 21. The Jennies are the defending national champions and are already preparing for the MIAA tournament, beginning March 5.
“We are just trying to go in and get a little bit better, play through the adversity and put together a full 40-minute game,” Meyer said. “We are getting close to winding down; so our focus, at this point, is just to finish strong.”
A constant struggle for Northwest, seemingly most of the season, is finding the fluidity and the transfer from play in practice to performance in games. Somehow finding the energy that comes on off-days and trapping it like lighting in a bottle.
“It’s very hard to pinpoint,” Meyer said. “For us, one thing they do on the men’s staff is repetition and practicing the same things over and over. We want to get to where our players aren’t getting bored with that.”
Competing for a full 40 minutes is something that Meyer feels like the Bearcats have lacked and haven’t quite caught the grasp of. During Northwest’s final outings of the year, Meyer and his staff want to make this an emphasis.
When reviewing the film after the loss to Southwest Baptist Feb. 16, Northwest gave up 30 points during the third quarter and allowed the Bearcats to knock down eight threes from behind the arc. This was the deciding factor during the 73-54 loss.
“The main focus is going to be remaining intense for all four quarters,” junior guard Kendey Eaton said. “During the Central Missouri game, we came out flat in the first, and during the first matchup with Southwest Baptist, we came out flat in the third. Instead of digging in and being aggressive, we tend to be a little more passive.”