Griffons try to make up ground against Southwest Baptist

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Western looks to break the losing streak they have been riding since the new year began on Saturday against the Bearcats of Southwest Baptist.

Both teams enter the matchup on a five-game losing streak, so the chance to snap that streak is what both teams are setting their eyes on for this game.

The Griffons have hit a rough patch since the start of the new year, facing three top 10 opponents in a four-game span. But, while their luck may seem to be down, they’ve been proving themselves offensively, hanging with each team and keeping the final score within 10 points. A final score of 57-56 against No. 1 Emporia State has been helping the Griffons stay motivated and continue fighting back.

“We’ve got to learn to stay away from that deficit, so that when we go make big runs, now we’re up 12 instead of coming back from 12,” head coach Rob Edmisson said.

However, the Bearcats have also been struggling recently. They have lost all but one of their last five games by double-digits, including a 23-point loss to Eckerd College.

Guard LaQuinta Jefferson leads Western with 22.1 points per game. She is one of two Griffons averaging in double-figures. On the offensive side of the ball, guard Chelsea Dewey leads the team with 54 assists. On the defensive end, three Griffons average just over five rebounds per game.

“[Edmisson tells us to] keep fighting, keep pushing,” Dewey said. “We’ve got to get stops.”

For Southwest Baptist, Brook Duncan is the only Bearcat averaging in double-digits for points per game at 13.2. Dilonna Johnson is adding to their offense by accumulating 40 assists so far this season. For their defense, Duncan leads the Bearcats with 4.7 rebounds per game.

The Griffons are hoping a win this weekend will help them start the last half of the season strong and on a positive note.

Guard Ariana Novak, who is second on the team in steals, says the team tries to stay focused on what’s coming up instead of what’s behind them.

“We’re trying to focus on what we’re working on in practice,” Novak said.

On Saturday, Jan. 17, the Griffons will head to Bolivar, Mo., to face off against Southwest Baptist. Tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m.

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