Western looks toward Oklahoma road trip

Preview Sports Women's Basketball

The No. 8 Griffons completed the home court sweep in a blowout fashion by beating Lindenwood 93-50 and Lincoln 82-51. Now they will hit the road to face the Northeastern State University RiverHawks and the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos.

The last time Western met both Northeastern State and Central Oklahoma was at the Fieldhouse early in the season. The Griffons went on to dominate the RiverHawks with a 39 point 88-49 victory but would steal a win over the Bronchos by just eight points, with a score of 77-69.

This time Western will face both teams on the road, beginning with Northeastern State.

Assistant head coach Roger Smith believes that the 11th place MIAA team can be difficult to handle.

“They’re a team that’s just scary,” Smith said. “They’re a team that, when they get going, they can light it up from the three-point line.”

If the game comes down to three pointers, the RiverHawks will rely on guards Cailyn Long and Kylie Looney. The freshman lead their team in three-pointers made with 41 and 35 and are the third and fourth leading scorers on the team, respectively.

The Griffons have their own threat beyond the arch in guard Sarafina Handy. Handy leads the team with 52 three-pointers followed by guards LaQuinta Jefferson and Dwanisha Tate with 20. Jefferson also leads the team in overall points with 475.

Western continues their Oklahoma tour against the Bronchos, and knowing their past history this season, Smith knows the game will be a long fight to the end.

“It was a battle the first time we played them. It will be a war when we go back there,” Smith said.

Central Oklahoma currently sits at fifth in the MIAA and has already clinched a spot in the conference tournament, along with Western.

The Bronchos play well at home with only three losses to accompany six wins, thanks in large part to their leading scorer, guard McKenzie Solberg. She scores 15.2 points per game on 45 percent shooting and is the only player on her team that averages double-digit points.

Western has three players averaging in double digits, led by Jefferson with 22.6, Handy with 14.3 and forward Mili Koyamainavure with 11.8.

The Griffons are still positioned at the top of the MIAA but are closely followed by No. 5 Fort Hays State. Each road game will be crucial for them to hold onto number one in the conference.

Western faces Northeastern State on Thursday Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. and squares off against Central Oklahoma on Saturday Feb. 13 at 1:30 p.m.