As a member of the Big Sky Conference, the Vikings are accustomed to traveling vast distances for away games, but this weekend’s road trip is a little longer than usual. The women’s basketball squad will be making its second ever appearance in the state of New York when they are hosted by the Binghamton Bearcats for their home opener.
As a member of the Big Sky Conference, the Vikings are accustomed to traveling vast distances for away games, but this weekend’s road trip is a little longer than usual.
The women’s basketball squad will be making its second ever appearance in the state of New York when they are hosted by the Binghamton Bearcats for their home opener.
The Vikings have traveled to New York just once in the past, when they defeated both Cornell and Stetson in the 1996-97 season. Since then, the team has only entered the Eastern time zone once, when they participated in a tournament hosted by George Mason in Fairfax, Va.
Following their game with the Bearcats, the Vikings head further upstate to take on the Syracuse Orange tomorrow in the Carrier Dome.
The cross-continent trip is never easy on an athlete, but the Vikings shouldn’t expect any sympathy from the Bearcats, who will be looking for a measure of revenge after falling to Portland State 62-60 in last season’s matchup at the Stott Center, the first matchup ever between the teams.
Hoping to build upon their middle-of-the-pack record (11-19) from the 2007���-08 season, the Bearcats will look to seize upon home-court advantage against the visiting Vikings.
The Bearcats are holding an even record of 1-1, losing their season opener to St. Bonaventure last weekend, but handily beating Colgate Wednesday night.
Saturday’s matchup between Portland State and Syracuse is the two programs’ first game against each other.
Syracuse jumped to an auspicious start on the season, winning their first two road games against Siena and Maryland Eastern Shore, but a showdown against No. 17 ranked Ohio State on Wednesday proved too much for the Orange.
Syracuse was not only defeated by the Buckeyes 78-71, but also lost its starting forward Nicole Michael. Michael, who is among the Orange’s leading rebounders, left the game after a hard fall in the waning minutes of the defeat and will miss the matchup with the Vikings.
With both games being the home openers for their respective opponents, the Vikings’ ability to win on the road, an area the team struggled with last season, will be put to the test.
In head coach Sherri Murrell’s inaugural season, despite cruising to a 22-9 record overall, the team had difficulty producing wins on the road and managed just a 7-8 record away from the Stott Center.
For a team whose sights are set on an NCAA Tournament berth, there could be no better primer than the game against Syracuse, who also went 22-9 last season and secured an appearance in the tournament.
Though the Orange fell in the first round to Hartford, they represent the sort of competition the Vikings will need to overcome if they plan on playing next March.
Following this weekend’s games, the Portland State squad will return home next week to host local rival Portland next Wednesday at the Stott Center.