The University of West Georgia women’s basketball coach will try to rally his troops and shake off a two-game losing streak when Union comes to The Coliseum for a 2 p.m. tip, where the Wolves can finish anywhere from third to fifth in the league standings depending on today’s outcome.
West Georgia (15-10, 9-8 GSC) is currently tied for third place with Valdosta State (16-9, 9-8), while Alabama-Huntsville (11-16, 8-9) sits a game behind them in fifth place. VSU faces first-place Delta State (17-8, 12-5) today in Cleveland, Miss., while UAH hosts Shorter (15-10, 10-7) this evening.
The Wolves, meanwhile, welcome a new addition to the GSC in the Lady Bulldogs (18-7, 13-4), who are actually atop the league standings but aren’t eligible for postseason play until next year.
Groninger said if his ball club wins and VSU loses, the Wolves will be the No. 3 seed. If UWG loses or VSU wins, it will be the No. 4 or No. 5 seed. Either way, the Wolves open tournament play on Friday at the Pete Hanna Center on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham against West Alabama or Alabama-Huntsville.
“I think we’re right where we need to be. We need to put together another solid outing [Saturday] and then collect ourselves Sunday, Monday and get ready for what could be a crazy tournament,” Groninger said. “There’s eight teams in the league, and we’ve beat everybody except for Delta State. Sometimes you say we feel like we can beat everybody, but we have beat everybody. And everybody’s beaten us except for CBU and West Florida. So it’s about as wide-open as you’re going to get.”
Union enters today’s game fresh off a red-hot perimeter performance in its 82-64 win over West Alabama on Thursday night, where it hit a season-high 17 3-pointers. The Lady Bulldogs also added a 6-foot-3 center that became eligible this week and played 10 minutes on Thursday night in Mildred Olumasi of Kenya.
“I don’t know how you get eligible the last week of the season, but they got her eligible. [Coach] Terry [Fowler] from [North Alabama] said she’s really good. Very athletic,” Groninger said of Olumasi.
And while the Wolves will try to lock up a No. 3 seed today, Groninger also looks forward to honoring his two seniors — Mone’ Peoples and Jerlisa Taylor — for Senior Day.
“I can’t think of a better way to send them out than to send them out with a win,” Groninger said.
Following Thursday night’s 12-point loss at North Alabama, Michael Cooney’s ball club is settled in as the No. 8 seed for next week’s GSC Tournament, meaning a first-round encounter with top-seeded and sixth-ranked Alabama-Huntsville (21-4, 14-3) next Thursday night.
Even though the Wolves (8-17, 5-12) are currently just a game behind Delta State and West Alabama in the league standings — teams they split with during the regular season — Cooney doesn’t think his team can win any tie-breaker scenarios at this point.
“The seeding has been decided because Delta has a win over Huntsville and West [Alabama] has a win over Christian Brothers. So, to me, it looks like we’ll be playing Huntsville on Thursday,” Cooney said.
The Wolves suffered a 79-55 loss to the Bulldogs on Jan. 26 in Jackson, Tenn., on a night where the host team shot a blistering 62 percent from the floor and 50 percent from downtown in the first half to run away with the game.
“Union has a tough record, but they can score the ball as well as anybody in our league. They shoot the ball every bit as good as Huntsville and CBU. I think they have one of the best power forwards in the conference. It is not going to be an easy game,” Cooney said.
And with UWG’s two seniors — Quincy Hill and Brett Seljak — being honored as part of the Senior Day festivities, Cooney would love to send the duo out with a ‘W’ in today’s 4 p.m. regular-season finale.
“We need to do that. Those guys have worked hard for us and we need to definitely send them out on a win. The team needs to do it. They need to pay themselves for their hard work,” Cooney said.
The West Georgia baseball team opens the GSC slate this weekend against Christian Brothers, hosting the Bucs in a 1 p.m. doubleheader today and closing out the three-game series with a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Wolves enter league play at 10-6 overall, riding a three-game winning streak. The Bucs are 4-7 heading into the conference haul, with this weekend marking their first road trip of the year.
The UWG softball team also opens the GSC gauntlet today, beginning with a road trip to Delta State for a 1 p.m. doubleheader in Cleveland, Miss. The Wolves (7-4) have won four straight heading into conference play, and continue their swing with a Sunday double-dip at Christian Brothers in Memphis. First pitch is 2 p.m. UWG returns home to host West Alabama on Wednesday in a 4 p.m. doubleheader.