EDINBURG – Despite losing back-to-back games for the first time in Western Athletic Conference play this season, UTRGV women’s basketball heads into the final three games of the regular season with confidence starting with Chicago State 7 p.m. Thursday at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.
“We played a really good game against New Mexico State and we competed for 40 minutes,” UTRGV head coach Lane Lord said. “We just came up a bit short. I believe our confidence is still high. We have a lot to play for the last three games leading to the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas.”
UTRGV is currently tied for third place with Utah Valley and Kansas City while just a game back in the loss column to California Baptist. With New Mexico State nearly clinching the outright number one seed in the WAC Tournament, UTRGV can still finish in second place.
Currently sitting with an 8-5 record in WAC play this year, UTRGV still has an opportunity to set a program record in conference wins in a season. The eight conference wins are currently tied for the second most in a season tying the total for the 2016-17, 2013-14, and the 2009-10 seasons.
With game to play against Chicago State, Kansas City, and California Baptist, UTRGV has a chance to win double-digit games in WAC play for the first time in program history.
Defense Leads to Victories
UTRGV continues to lead the WAC in defensive scoring as they have allowed an average of 61.8 points per game this season.
That average goes even lower in WAC play as UTRGV has allowed an average 59.9 points per WAC game. Defense has allowed UTRGV to been in most games this season. While the offense has seen its ups and downs, it has been the defense that has allowed UTRGV to have the season it has had so far.
“Defense has kept us in every game and has given us a chance to win,” Lord said. “Scoring sometimes comes and goes but playing solid defense night in and night out in league play always gives us a chance for the win.”
On UTRGV’s five game win streak, the defense really stepped up allowing an average of 55.8 points per game. The defense has put UTRGV in a prime position for a top-two seed in the WAC Tournament.
Heading into the season, UTRGV knew it was going to have to play defense differently without much size in the middle. Coach Lord has seen some good things from his team defensively that will help set a new culture for the program moving forward.
“Without a rim protector or much size, we have to play team defense,” Lord said. “That means we have to rotate and communicate effectively. I am proud of our team for playing hard and competing on the defensive end.”
Seniors to Honored on Saturday
UTRGV will be honoring nine student-athletes prior to Saturday’s game against Kansas City at 7 p.m. at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.
A ceremony to honor seniors Daniella Azubell, Idil Türk, Jameka Dowell, Quynne Huggins, Nichelle Hyman, Krisynthia Sampson, Madison Northcutt, and redshirt juniors Shaiann Tramble and Natalia Ready, who will be graduating at the end of the year, will take place before tip-off.