North Texas Daily

Basketball teams prepare for C-USA tournament

Basketball teams prepare for C-USA tournament

Basketball teams prepare for C-USA tournament
March 06
00:53 2014

Akshay Mirchandani // Staff Writer

The Mean Green men’s and women’s basketball teams will travel to El Paso next week for the Conference USA basketball tournament. The matchups have not been decided yet, but the women’s tournament will begin on March 11, while the men’s will begin on March 12.

Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team (15-14, 6-9) had a rough patch in February that included a five-game losing streak, but has bounced back to win four of the last five games. The team hopes to ride that momentum into the tournament games.

“Throughout the year, we didn’t play as well as we wanted and gave some games away that we should’ve won,” head coach Tony Benford said. “But I’m really proud of how these guys are finishing up. They never quit, they’ve been positive all year.”

The Mean Green is in contention for a first-round bye, which will be decided at the conclusion of the regular season tonight. If the team earns the bye, then it would take four consecutive wins to get the title. Otherwise, it will take five wins in a row.

“We just won four straight games now. All we have to do to make it to the NCAA tournament is just do that again,” junior forward Colin Voss said. “Everyone has the same chance. There’s no advantage. You win four games and you’re in.”

Benford said that C-USA is a tough basketball conference, with four of the 15 teams winning 20 or more games. The Mean Green lost all four matchups against these teams in the regular season, but the team still likes its odds.

“I feel very comfortable in our team. We’ve been playing good the last couple of games. Some of the top teams, they lost games,” junior guard Jordan Williams said. “I think anybody can get beat.”

The team has one game left on the regular season schedule, which is against University of Tulsa at 7 p.m. tonight in the Super Pit.

Women’s Basketball

The women’s basketball team (12-17, 6-10) will face a tough test going into the C-USA tournament in El Paso next week. Out of the 16 teams in the conference, five have won 20 or more games – out of 29 to 30 games, varying with each team.

Head coach  Mike Petersen said the team’s losing record is a bad indicator of the team’s capabilities.

“The way we’ve played, those two numbers on both sides ought to be switched. We should be 17-12 and 10-6 frankly,” Petersen said. “But we are what we are, and it’s a competitive maturity and mental toughness thing.”

Over the last nine games of the season the Mean Green has gone 4-5 and has dealt with a variety of injuries to sophomore forward Acheil Tac, junior forward Joh’Vonna Darrington, freshman guard Candice Adams and junior guard BreAnna Dawkins. All been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Sophomore forward Alexis Hyder said those setbacks haven’t brought the team’s mood down, however.

“We’ve been fighting through a lot actually with losing players with injuries,” sophomore forward Alexis Hyder said. “I think we’re going to do well in the tournament. I just feel like we have this attitude that we have to fight through what we’ve been going through.”

Senior guard Laura McCoy said in this conference, anyone is beatable. The Mean Green beat the University of Texas at El Paso on Feb. 29 and lost close games to the University of Tulane on Feb. 5 and East Carolina University on Feb. 15, all teams that have won at least 20 games.

“Anybody can beat anybody and I feel like that’s exciting, especially for the tournament,” McCoy said. “We’ve proved that we can hang with anyone in the conference so we’ll have a lot of confidence going into the tournament.”

Feature photo: Freshman forward Eboniey Jeter struggles score during a home game on Saturday afternoon at the Super Pit. Photo by James Coreas / Staff Photographer

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