Saints miss shot at GNAC championship bid

Kierrla Yates, Staff Writer 

 

Disclaimer: The information reflects statistics as of 2/26/2020.

With the season coming to a close, the Saint Martin’s men’s and women’s basketball teams are fighting hard to finish strong. The lady Saints are giving it their all, as evidenced by their current winning streak of five games. After a difficult season, and with only three games left, the men’s team find themselves with an upsetting streak of losses, spanning five games. 

Both teams put forth great efforts, but it will take a little bit more to end the season on a high note. On the men’s team, a need for connection and overall best performances will be necessary as they face off against Simone Fraser, Central Washington, and Northwest Nazarene. For the women’s team, a great ending to their season must come from the players continuing the momentum from their consecutive five wins, and finding their rhythm earlier in the games.

That is not to say the men’s team has not been putting their best foot forward, but they have found themselves in a rather tough position. At the end of last year, numerous players graduated, while some left after their head coach moved on from Saint Martin’s. This meant that the 2019-2020 season was going to be played by a young, new team. 

With a young team and new coach, it is difficult to play well against other schools, especially without the experience of previously being in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). It is  difficult for a team to connect completely in its first year, especially when playing against much older, more experienced teams. 

However, our men’s team has shown some great potential this year. In their game against the Western Washington Vikings, the Saint’s played hard and were only four points behind the Vikings at halftime, showing they have the ability to hold their own. Three players scored double digits in that game, another key sign that if the players find their flow, they have the ability to finish the season with some more wins.

The women’s team has been on a hot streak lately, raking in five back-to-back wins, including one over the Western Washington Vikings, who are currently ranked third in the GNAC. Should the Saints carry the successful moments, and keep up their drive, they could end the season defeating the two most challenging teams. However, their final game is against Northwest Nazarene, currently ranked second in the GNAC. 

The women’s team will have to pull it together and find their rhythm in times of struggle. In their game against MSU Billings, the Saints had a tough first quarter offensively. In their game against Norwest Nazarene, the first quarter will be crucial for their success. Should the women’s team find themselves with a cold start, it will be much more difficult to win against the Nighthawks. 

Thankfully, the Saints seem to have a great shot. Their first match-up against the Nighthawks, back in December, resulted in a loss of 11 points. Now that the women’s team is a stronger and fiercer team than they were two months ago, they will be much more competitive.

Overall, the women’s team is currently in sixth place in the conference, with the ability to move up to fifth, should they beat Central Washington. The men are currently ranked 10th in the conference after pushing through a difficult season. As GNAC draws to a close, it is important to recognize that each team has had both great successes and tough losses, but even in defeat, the athletes have worked hard and played tough.

 

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