Dec. 30, 2010
Northwest returns from break to host Lincoln
By David Boyce
Northwest Missouri State women's basketball team plays its second of five straight home conference games 1:30 p.m. Friday, and coach Gene Steinmeyer is concerned.
Usually, a coach looks forward to home games. It's always easier to win at home than on the road.
But Steinmeyer is looking at past history as he prepares his squad to take on Lincoln University at Bearcat Arena. The men's game will follow at 3:30 p.m.
It doesn't matter that the Bearcats won their last home game, beating Fort Hays State 71-65 just before the Christmas break.
Steinmeyer uses that game as evidence that the Bearcats must be more focused at home.
"We didn't play great at home, but we played good enough to win the game," Steinmeyer said. "That was the most important win of all. The two wins on the road were nice.
"We've had our struggles over the last two years of winning at home. Last year we had a 28-point halftime lead at Central and they came to our place and beat us pretty good. It really worries me more how we are going to play at home than how we play on the road."
The Bearcats, 7-2 overall and 3-2 in the MIAA, have already proven they can play well away from Maryville. They won their last two of four straight road games. They played well in the two road losses.
Northwest gets a fairly easy test when it faces Lincoln, which is just 1-8 on the season.
But Steinmeyer doesn't want his team to fall into the trap that they have a stress free game coming up because they are at home against an opponent they should beat.
"I want to see execution," Steinmeyer said. "I want to see that well-oiled machine we had at times in our first four road games. I want to see us shoot better. We play a Lincoln team that only plays seven people. We got a chance to use our depth and our height to our advantage."
Overall, Steinmeyer is excited about his team. He believes it's one that should compete with Emporia State and Washburn for a MIAA title.
He sees the same enthusiasm and confidence from his players.
"They all came back looking in pretty good shape," Steinmeyer said. "We didn't have anybody hanging around the trash can Monday night. I think they are anxious to get at it. They are real excited how the first half went. I really feel that."
Just before the break, the Bearcats added a player in senior center Gentry Dietz. She scored eight points and pulled down 10 rebounds without really practicing with the team.
Last season, Dietz was the second leading scorer on the team, averaging 14.7 points.
"Gentry looked great," Steinmeyer said. "Gentry played above my expectations. The team didn't play above expectations and that's probably my fault of just throwing her in there like that and having strange combinations on the floor. But we survived that and that's the main thing."
Steinmeyer wants more than just survive the next two weeks when the Bearcats also play Missouri Western, Truman and Central Missouri at Bearcat Arena.
"Obviously, our goal is to challenge for the conference," Steinmeyer said. "If we want to do that we have to be perfect or almost perfect at home. Just because we won two games away from home, we were far from knowing how we would play at home."
David Boyce spent more than 20 years covering high school and small college athletics at the Kansas City Star newspaper in Missouri. He's covered six of Northwest Missouri State's seven national championship football games and recently served as a guest columnist for the MIAA.
Boyce was named KIAAA Sportswriter of the Year in 1994. He covered boxing at the Star from 1991-2004 including Tommy Morrison and worked both championship fights between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. His 1997 exclusive story on Morrison becoming HIV positive was named an Associated Press Sports Editor top 10 feature for papers serving more than 150,000.
Boyce was born in New York City and was raised in Kansas City, Kan. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1988 with a degree in journalism. He is currently one of three official scorers for the Kansas City Royals and is a contributing writer for the Royals Gameday magazine.
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