The women’s basketball team opens up its Big Sky home schedule this weekend with games on back-to-back nights against Weber State and Eastern Washington at the Peter W. Stott Center. Coming off a two-loss road trip in their first games of Big Sky Conference play, Portland State looks to overcome their road woes by getting some conference games at home this weekend.
Back-to-back conference play
The women’s basketball team opens up its Big Sky home schedule this weekend with games on back-to-back nights against Weber State and Eastern Washington at the Peter W. Stott Center.
Coming off a two-loss road trip in their first games of Big Sky Conference play, Portland State looks to overcome their road woes by getting some conference games at home this weekend.
“We’re trying to get back to some basics. We’re really glad that we’re back home for this weekend. We’ll just try and take one game at a time and get better everyday,” said Portland State head coach Charity Elliott.
In losses to Montana and Montana State last weekend, the team shot no better than 32.3 percent from the field in either game. To remedy that, the Vikings must turn to sophomore forward Kelsey Kahle, who recently captured Big Sky player of the week honors for the second time this season and is shooting at a .448 clip this season.
Kahle has done everything for the Vikings this year, leading the team in points, steals, blocks, rebounds, and free throws made and attempted. To beat a solid Weber State team, however, the rest of the team must give Kahle some help, as it will require a complete team effort to run with the Wildcats.
“Kelsey is one you never have to worry about, as far as a good work ethic and her competitiveness,” said Elliott. “What we need is just need more consistency from everybody else, from our guards to another post player inside. It has been kind of crazy, we have so many more bodies than we did last year, and it has taken us awhile to figure out who can do what.”
Weber State comes into town having won four of their last five and jumping out to a fast 3-0 record in the Big Sky standings. The scoring tandem of junior forward Sara Tuomi and senior guard Chelsey Warburton are a dangerous one-two punch for the Wildcats. Tuomi is averaging 16.4 points per game, while Warburton is on her heels at 14.9 points per game. The Vikings need to keep an eye on Warburton from behind the arc, as she is leading the Big Sky in three pointers.
“Weber is a very senior-dominated team, so they are going to be very experienced, particularly at the guard spots. They shoot the three very well. It should be a really good match-up,” said Elliott.
Last season, the two teams split their regular season match-ups 1-1, with the home team prevailing in both games. Having yet to win while away from the Stott Center this year, the Vikings must capitalize when playing on the home court, as road wins have been hard to come by.
“We want it to be a full court game. So I think it will be a real battle (for) who wins the tempo,” said Elliott. “It’s a good match-up for us. We split with them last year. They’re off to a great start. It’ll be a challenge for us, and hopefully we can get our fans to help us out and get a win this weekend.”
Following Weber State, Eastern Washington presents another challenge for the Vikings. The Eagles are averaging nearly 71 points per game lead by their standout senior guard Joanna Chadd, who boasts a .469 shooting percentage on the year. In two meetings last year, the Eagles and Vikings split, each grabbing a win at home. While the Eagles have no problem putting points on the board, their defense has been suspect, giving up an average of nearly 75 points per game. This match-up may be just what the doctor ordered for a Vikings team in search of answers at the offensive end of the court.
With 14 games remaining out of a 16-game conference schedule, the Vikings still have time to dig themselves out of the hole they are in. If they win-out over the weekend that would push their conference record to 2-2 and make them into a legitimate Big Sky contender.
The action begins against Weber State on Friday night with tip-off at 7 p.m. at the Stott Center. The next night, Eastern Washington will pay a visit, also scheduled for 7 p.m. tip-off.