Updated Fri, Feb 14, 2014 3:52 pm
The last time Rio Grande played St. Catherine College it had won five of its last seven games. The RedStorm were 14-4 overall, and had just one more loss than win in the Mid-South Conference. Rio Grande went on to blow out St. Catherine College. All signs were pointing towards a strong conference run.
Fast-forward to Valentines Day, and the RedStorm women are preparing to travel to St. Catherine College to take on the Patriots again. This time, however, the circumstances are much different. Rio Grande has lost six of its last seven games and are 15-10 overall and 4-9 in the MSC. The RedStorm now find themselves fighting for their postseason lives. They are hoping a matchup against the last place St. Catherine College Patriots (4-17, 1-13 MSC) can help them to get back on track.
In order to do so, Rio Grande will need to have a short memory. Coming off an 83-47 drubbing at the hands of Campbellsville, the RedStorm will need to turn the page and look to move forward.
St. Catherine provides a great opportunity to do so. The Patriots have just one conference win and are fresh off of a 12-game losing streak that stretched from December to early February. St. Catherine finally got back into the win column with a victory over Wilberforce University on Feb. 11.
Much of St. Catherine’s struggles have come from its inability to score. The Patriots are averaging just less than 68 points per game on the season. Compare this to Rio Grande’s fourth best scoring average per game (85.6) in NAIA Division I and the discrepancy becomes apparent. The RedStorm, however, are coming off a game in which they scored a season-low 47 points.
Much of that can be attributed to the 31 times that Rio Grande turned the ball over. The RedStorm also shot a season-low 28 percent from the field. For a team that shoots the ball at a 45 percent average, it is safe to say the offensive performance against Campbellsville was more of an outlier than it was normality.
In order to get the offensive numbers back up, Rio Grande will look to get the fifth best scorer in the MSC back on a roll. Junior guard and offensive catalyst Brianna Thomas suffered a knee injury in the second half of the Campbellsville game and was limited to just seven points. According to Rio Grande assistant coach Brandon Bias, she will be “good to go” on Saturday.
A matchup against the last place team in the MSC could be exactly what Rio Grande women’s basketball team needs. And with just over two weeks remaining in the regular season, now is the time for the RedStorm to begin taking advantage of these opportunities.