Dec. 17, 2010
Bearcats Ready For Some Home Cooking
By David Boyce
Before going home for Christmas break, the Northwest Missouri State women's basketball team will get to play a game at home.
Bearcat Arena for the last three weeks has been nothing but a practice facility for Northwest.
When the MIAA season started on Dec. 1, the Bearcats hit the road to Emporia State, Washburn, Pittsburg State and Nebraska-Omaha.
It was a daunting task that the Bearcats got through by breaking even.
"If there was ever a turning point as far as the early part of the season, it had to be that," Northwest coach Gene Steinmeyer said. "If we weren't going to be a good road team this year, it would have stuck out like a sore thumb."
Now, Northwest, 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the MIAA, is ready for a taste of home-court advantage. The Bearcats take on Fort Hays State, 5-3 and 2-2, at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Northwest's men's team, 2-6 and 0-4, is even hungrier for some home-court cooking. They will face league favorite, Fort Hays, 9-1 and 3-1 at 7:30 p.m. following the women's game.
The women's team has been scoring a lot of points lately. Each game on the road the Bearcats have scored more points than the previous one, culminating with an impressive 90-77 victory at Nebraska-Omaha a week ago.
"We established that we can shoot the ball well on the road. I want to establish a home presence," Steinmeyer said, "because being decent on the road means nothing if you come home and get beat."
Despite losing the first two games to the perennial conference powers, Steinmeyer believes he has a team capable of challenging for a MIAA title.
Currently, the Bearcats are in a four-way tie for fifth. Only Emporia State and Washburn are without a conference loss.
Northwest gets an added bonus Saturday. The Bearcats will see the return of 6-foot-1 senior forward Gentry Dietz. Last year she ranked second on the team in scoring with a 14.7 average.
Dietz only had one semester of eligibility left and had to sit out the fall semester.
Her addition will only add to the Bearcats' formidable inside-outside attack, led by guards Abby Henry, Shelly Martin and Gabby Curtis, who are all averaging over 13 points per game. Newcomer, senior center Kyla Roehrig, is also pumping in more than 13 points per game.
"I want to see them be flexible," Steinmeyer said. "I could mess this thing up by throwing Gentry in there. I want them to adjust to whatever mistakes I might make.
"I am going to practice on the 19th and the reason is Gentry. I can't give up a practice. We will practice noon Sunday and then send them home."
A new rule was adopted this year in NCAA Division II that all teams have to take seven days off during Christmas break before returning to practice.
Steinmeyer wants his players to enjoy their time with their families. But because of technology and Steinmeyer's ability to stay current with it, his players won't be far away no matter where they are at.
"Here's a great little thing and it is called group texting," Steinmeyer said. "About the time they are sitting back with a big turkey leg, they are going to get a text from me asking them ‘what have they done to help the team today?'
"I want them to enjoy their family. The danger in taking a break is you like it too much."
From all indications, the Bearcats also like winning and will put in the necessary work to be successful in 2011.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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