CWU Basketball keeps playoff hopes alive with two games left

CWU Men’s and Women’s Basketball haven’t clinched a spot in the GNAC postseason. They also haven’t been eliminated. Entering the final weekend of the regular season, the women will need one win to get in, while the men will need some help from other teams in the conference.

Taylor Clark, Staff Reporter

As the season is winding down, both CWU Men’s and Women’s Basketball are looking to clinch a playoff spot over the course of the next two games. To make the playoffs, both teams have to finish in the top six spots in the GNAC. Men’s basketball head coach Brandon Rinta and women’s basketball head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley are hoping to finish the year strong. 

Men’s Basketball

Rinta said the biggest challenge, if the team made the postseason, would be how much preparation each team in the GNAC puts in before every game. 

“There’s no secrets,” Rinta said. “Everybody knows everything about everybody and everyone is well prepared.” 

Paneal Holland

Rinta said the team has had high energy and has been playing well defensively. Rinta also said a lot of the team’s success seems to come down to how well the team takes care of the basketball and how the team eliminates turnovers. As a result, the team was able to win five games in a row. 

Sophomore forward Matt Poquette said he is feeling good about the rest of the season. Poquette said he has a positive outlook and thinks the team has a chance to make the playoffs, focusing on one game at a time and getting better each day. 

“We’ve really hit our stride over the last few weeks and really have come together as a team,” Poquette said. “We trust in each other, offensively and defensively. Again, taking it one day at a time, just hoping to get in [the playoffs] and if we do, we’ll see what happens.”

The men’s team is currently ranked 7th in the GNAC. For playoffs, the team would need to be 6th or higher in the conference to clinch a playoff spot. 

Women’s Basketball

Paneal Holland

Richardson-Thornley said the team’s goal was to sweep both teams last weekend, and that’s exactly what the women did. The Wildcats beat Western Oregon University, 70-46, and Concordia University, 82-45.

“We have to take care of business each and every night,” Richardson-Thornley said. “Knocking down shots is big and just competing. It’s a matter of who can stay healthy, who has the energy.” 

The women are scheduled to play their next two games on the road, Thursday, Feb. 27 at 5:15 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 29 at 2 p.m. The men are also scheduled to play these days but at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and 4:15 p.m. on Saturday. 

The women are currently ranked 5th in the GNAC. They are, as it stands now, in the playoffs but it all comes down to the last two games of the season. 

Playoff Scenarios

Both teams are finishing off their last conference games on the road at Saint Martin’s University (SMU) and Seattle Pacific University (SPU). The women will play at 5:15 p.m. at SMU on Thursday, Feb. 27 and at 2 p.m. at SPU on Saturday, Feb. 29. The men will finish out their conference games on the same days, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and 4:15 p.m. on Saturday. 

If the women’s team wins one game, they are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. If they do not win one of their final two games, they will need either Montana State University Billings or Saint Martin’s University to lose one game.

One way the men’s team can make the playoffs is if they win their final two games and the University of Alaska Anchorage loses their final two games. Another way they could get in is if they win the final game of the season against Seattle Pacific University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks loses their final two games. Among other scenarios, if Western Oregon University loses their final two games, CWU will miss the playoffs.