CWU shoots for win in rivalry game
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The CWU men’s basketball team is hoping to snap their seven-game losing streak Thursday in a tough matchup against a nationally ranked Western Washington University (WWU).
CWU lost their first game to WWU 100-89 at Whatcom Community College.
“This game means a lot, everyone always talks about this is the biggest game of the year and this rivalry one of our biggest checkpoints of the year,” junior guard Jawan Stepney said.
In the past five years CWU has only won three of 11 matchups, two wereat home at Nicholson Pavilion.
That record is the least of their concern.
The team is currently on a seven-game losing streak, which started in the last matchup with WWU almost a month ago at WWU’s home court.
“The biggest thing is we have to stay as positive as we can. We aren’t shooting the ball as well as we can. We need to start working on what got us to 12-3,” head coach Greg Sparling said.
WWU is currently on a two-game winning streak and holding on tight to the number one spot in the GNAC with a 13-3 conference record. WWU, who is currently ranked No. 20 in the nation presents CWU with many challenges each time the two meet up.
WWU’s top scorers are two seniors: guard Taylor Stafford (21.6 points per game) and, forward Jeffrey Parker (16.5 points per game).
The team has been struggling with both defense and shooting, the two major keys to winning a basketball game. The team is hoping that a sold-out crowd and Root Sports airing the game will give them an advantage.
For the past few years Root Sports comes out to Nicholson Pavilion to showcase the game, giving it the regional spotlight that it deserves. The Wildcats are 1-1 in the past two matchups on Root Sports and each game has been a matter of a buzzer beater.
“We know this is a big week and we played well against them last game, we’re just going to go over what we did last time and do that better,” senior guard Dom Hunter said.
Hunter, who was once one of the top scorers in the nation, has since dropped off national rankings. There’s a new shooter on the team that they hope to get back in time for the game, Naim Ladd.
Ladd who has been out the past seven games is currently suffering from turf toe and was seen practicing Monday, just days before the matchup.
With Ladd practicing again Sparling has hope that he will return to the starting lineup since he began practicing this week.
The Wildcats will take on the WWU Vikings Thursday February 16 at 8 p.m. in Nicholson Pavilion.