Tahlequah Daily Press

February 22, 2014

RiverHawks, UCO set for rivalry clash

By BEN JOHNSON
Sports Editor

bjohnson@tahlequahdailypress.com



The Northeastern State women have fallen upon hard times. At one point, the RiverHawks rattled off back-to-back wins over No. 23 Fort Hays State and No. 2 Emporia State.

Since then, there’s been only one victory mixed in NSU’s last six games.

The downward spiral was extended Wednesday night a 63-46 setback at home against Pittsburg State.

“I didn’t think we gave a real competitive effort overall,” said NSU coach Randy Gipson, whose team fell to 10-13 overall and 7-9 in Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association play.

“We went against a good team, and maybe we had a little bit of an emotional letdown after a very difficult loss (to Washburn) on Saturday. It’s just a tough time of the year right now.”

There is some good news for NSU, though.

Up next is a date with Central Oklahoma (10-13, 5-11) in Edmond on Saturday. The lone win in the RiverHawks’ games in February was a 63-61 win over the Bronchos on Feb. 6.

Central Oklahoma is coming off a 66-45 loss to Emporia State last Saturday.

At the current time, NSU is eighth in the league and one game ahead of Northwest Missouri State and two games ahead of Central Oklahoma and Southwest Baptist in the MIAA standings. The RiverHawks will have to stay in the top eight to pick up a home game in the MIAA tournament in a couple of weeks.

“We’re going to have to pick ourselves up and really fight hard,” Gipson said. “We’re going to have to go on the road and play well.”

If there’s a team that knows the plight of the NSU women, it’s the NSU men. The RiverHawks had lost six in a row until posting back-to-back wins over Washburn and Pittsburg State.

The RiverHawks (13-10, 8-8) are coming off a 61-60 win over Pittsburg State in which point guard Bryton Hobbs drained a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. The victory helped NSU pull into a tie for eighth place in the league with Nebraska Kearney.

In Edmond, the NSU men will take on a Central Oklahoma team that is 16-7 overall and 10-6 in the league. The Bronchos have also won five straight.