By Zack Penalva, Sports Editor
With the regular season already over halfway over for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the next month of games will be some of the defining moments of the season as the Eagles will face KIAC opponents in all of their remaining games.
The KIAC has proved to be a difficult animal. As of Jan. 18, the Eagles are 4-3 against conference opponents. In the wins, the Eagles have shown some resilience. Besides a comfortable win over Indiana University Kokomo, the Eagles have squeaked by in the other games. The 67-65 overtime win against Cincinnati Christian came largely due to senior Kristian Svendsen having a career-best game.
Winning record in mind, the losses suffered in conference play have been a bit troubling, especially if the Eagles hope to progress in the post-season. In their losses against Campbellsville, Alice Lloyd and Indiana University Southeast, the Eagles lost by an average of 16 points.
Conference-matchups have shown to be a much more manageable affair. At 7-1, they lead the KIAC. In their remaining schedule the game that sticks out the most is the Jan. 26 game against Brescia University at home. Brescia is the only team to beat the Eagles in conference play so far this season; that game ended 83-80 in overtime.
The biggest uncertainties for the Eagles will come from the teams that they have not faced yet. That’s assuming the team can continue to rely on the same level of production from it’s big players.
Some players have seemed to thrive in the conference games. For the men, senior Kyle Lamb has averaged 11 points against KIAC opponents, four points higher than he has in games against out-of-conference teams and he’s seen his three-point percentage rise as well. Kristian Svendsen has seen a similar uptick in production, jumping from around 7ppg to 10ppg in conference play.
On the women’s team, senior Catie Fletcher still has averaged in the double digits for scoring despite a slight drop-off in conference games. Junior Brittany Warren, already an offensive threat, has seen a rise in her numbers due to high scoring performances against KIAC teams.
Last year saw the women’s team make a great run into the post-season, a feat that looks more and more attainable based on their conference performance. But for both teams, the next few weeks could make the difference between a memorable season and a mediocre one.