All season, women’s head coach Jeff Soderquist has said his goal is to see the Lady Eagles in home whites with a fourth seed in the conference tournament. With two games to go against teams in the hunt for the same spot, that goal is within reach.
The Lady Eagles will play seventh place MACU, who is three games out of fourth, on the road today. The Lady Eagles will then close out the regular season with a showdown with fourth place Oklahoma Baptist, whom the Lady Eagles are two games behind, in Bill George Arena on Saturday afternoon.
“To put ourselves in [that] position … we’ve got to win these two games,” Soderquist said. “We’ve got to believe in ourselves [and] that we can do that.”
The Eagles will be seeking their first win this season against both teams. MACU defeated the Lady Eagles 61-54 on Jan. 19 and Oklahoma Baptist beat JBU 56-46 on Jan. 17.
Soderquist said the keys to beating both teams is to make open shots and not give up easy points on the defensive end.
The Lady Eagles win over Wayland Baptist last Thursday was close throughout. JBU trailed 38-34 with 4:27 left before the Lady Eagles ran past the Flying Queens, outscoring WBU 15-2 the rest of the way. Part of that run was Anna Parish scoring seven points in a row, part of her team-high 11 points. The win kept the Lady Eagles in the race for the fourth seed.
Coming off that win, the last week also gives JBU a chance to build momentum going into the tournament.
“How you’re playing at the end of the year tells a lot,” Soderquist said. “When you get to this time of year, whoever is playing well has a shot to win.”
With the standings very even after the top three teams, the first round is likely to be an even matchup no matter who JBU plays. As a result, Soderquist is stressing the importance of being prepared for a close game.
“When it comes to [who wins] close games, it’s … who’s going to set picks a little bit better and who’s going to execute a little bit better,” Soderquist said. “All those little things in a game like that is going to be huge.”
The Lady Eagles will visit MidAmerica Christian today at 6 p.m. and will close out the regular season against Oklahoma Baptist on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Bill George Arena.