Every win is precious in a retooled Western Athletic Conference. Especially in the race to earn a regular season championship. And on Thursday, we’ve got a couple of big matchups to get you ready for.
Unfortunately, one of the matchups to look for was SFA at Grand Canyon. That game has been postponed due to COVID issues within the SFA program. The other matchup takes place on the West Coast when ACU visits CBU in what could be a must-win game for the Wildcats.
Tomorrow's game against Stephen F. Austin has been postponed. The new date and time will be announced once determined.
We are still set for Saturday's game at 2 p.m. against Sam Houston at GCU Arena!
— GCU Women's Basketball (@GCU_WBB) January 19, 2022
Whenever the new date is set, it will be one to keep an eye on. Molly Miller foretold the significance of this matchup a year ago when expansion was announced.
“We’re going to want to highlight/asterisk/bold/underline this game. GCU is No. 1 (at the time) for turnovers forced. Stephen F. Austin is No. 2. That’s going to be fun – that defensive lockdown mentality.”
Those words have proven to be prophetic in 2022. GCU is a game out of first place while SFA is undefeated in league play. It should be a fun one when it is rescheduled.
Let’s take a look at the defensive statistics of both sides and you’ll get a better understanding of why…
Turnovers Forced: SFA-25.0 PPG & GCU-24.4
Steals: GCU-14.4 SPG & SFA-13.8
Scoring Margin: SFA- +22.6 & GCU- +8.1
Defensive 3 pt percentage: SFA- 31.0% GCU-32.6%
Defensive FG percentage: SFA- 35.0% GCU-42.7%
Keys to the Game:
1. Pressure, Pressure, Pressure- Who will do the best job of taking care of the ball on a big stage?
2. Offense-Which offense will get going early?
>Both sides struggled mightily in their last win before this matchup as the Lopes were held to just 47 points against Tarleton State & it took a big second half for the Lumberjacks to put away Lamar.
3. Win the Glass- Good defenses finish possessions with a rebound and the winner of this game will have to do a solid job in that department as they have proven scorers who can take advantage of 2nd opportunities.
Abilene Christian at California Baptist – Saturday
Then on Saturday it’s Abilene Christian at CBU in another big matchup with regular season title implications on the line. A third ACU loss knocks them out of the race. Meanwhile, the Lancers look to extend their WAC winning streak to 25 with wins over Tarleton State and the Wildcats.
It’ll be a battle of mirror images as both sides love to shoot the 3-pointer. Abilene Christian is 6th nationally in 3-pointers made at 168 with an average of 9.9 makes per contest. Meanwhile, the Lancers are at 9.7 3’s per contest, which would be 9th nationally. And their 261 makes would lead the country.
Keys to the Game:
1. The 3-Point Line- It was a struggle from beyond the arc for ACU against New Mexico State last Saturday. Meanwhile, the Lancers have shot 40.4% from beyond the arc over the last three games. Whichever defense does a better job of running the other off the 3-point line will definitely have an advantage in this one.
2. Take care of the ball- Neither team is overly turnover prone so whoever capitalizes on their extra opportunities will be in a great position to get a win.
3. Rebound- When teams are this proficient at shooting 3-pointers, second chance opportunities are huge and limiting the other side’s extra opportunities will be a key factor.