Coming off of two hard-fought games against Pittsburg State this past weekend, Washburn’s two basketball programs have proven themselves this far through the season.
The Lady Blues beat the Gorillas 85-61, improving their record to 14-3 and 6-2 in the MIAA. The No. 8 Washburn Lady Blues are tied for first in their conference and are preparing for another postseason run.
Although the Washburn men lost 82-69 against Pitt. State, their record of 11-6 and 3-5 in the conference has improved, making it their best season in more than two years. At this time last year, the Ichabods were 7-12 and 3-7 in conference.
But there are still many challenges ahead, including games Wednesday at home in Lee Arena against Missouri Southern. The Lady Blues play at 5:30 p.m. against the Lady Lions (13-4 and 4-4) while the Ichabods will go up against the Lions (11-5 and 5-3) at 7:30 p.m.
Each of the Washburn basketball teams is undefeated at home this season, with the women 7-0 and the men 6-0. Ichabod senior guard Grant Hargett said the men’s team is ready to get back home.
“Playing at home always gives you an advantage,” said Hargett. “We’re used to the basket and the environment. And then you also get the home fans behind you supporting you. I think that any team that plays at home in the MIAA has a slight advantage.”
The Washburn men’s basketball team has lost three of its five conference games by one point.
“I think it’s going to be very important to win some of those close games down the stretch,” said Hargett. “Maybe some of that luck will slide our way in those close games being that we have more home games coming up.”
The Ichabods haven’t beaten MSSU in more than two years, a trend they’re hoping to change on Wednesday.
“I think definitely at this point in the season we’re playing a lot harder,” said Hargett. “If we keep putting ourselves in a position to win and playing in close games, eventually with the law of averages some of those games are going to swing in our advantage.”
The Lady Blues hope to continue their conference domination with the upcoming Missouri Southern game.
“It’s going to be a tough one,” said senior forward Amanda Holmes. “It’ll be great to be home where it’s familiar. They’re a tough team. They have two really good posts. So that’s going to be really hard to go against.”
When asked if a five-game winning streak against the Lady Lions mattered at all coming into the game, Holmes modestly brushed it off like it was nothing.
“Honestly, it really is like a completely new season just because we have so many new people on the team,” said Holmes. “Only me and a couple other girls have been a part of that winning streak.
“We’re just going to take it like every other game and just focus on what we’re trying to do. If we play well, I think we should be able to beat them again.”