Last week, the State Fair Community College women’s basketball team won the Region 16 title, beating Jefferson 72-55. Now with a chance at making the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament, the Lady Roadrunners get the task to trying to stop 25-6 Iowa Western.
“We’ve just got to take it as another game, play our hearts out,” said sophomore Asia Mosley. “We have to know that the team we’re going to play is going to play their hardest. We’ve got to play our hardest, too.”
Iowa Western won the Region 11 title, beating Northeast Nebraska 80-62. The Lady Reivers had four players average in double figures this season, but because of injuries won’t have all of them on the floor for the district championship.
“They lost their two best players and their third-best player is half-active,” said State Fair coach Kevin Bucher. “It’s one of those things that they’re coming off a big win even without them against Northeast Nebraska. It probably helped them at the right time to get some games underneath them, so that way they could get other people involved.”
What was already a young Iowa Western team, with nine freshmen and four sophomores, will face a State Fair roster loaded with experience.
“I think we are very comfortable playing with each other because the chemistry is there,” Mosley said.
The Lady Roadrunners are on the road for this game, playing on Iowa Western’s home floor where the Lady Reivers are 15-3 this season. However, the Lady Roadrunners have been road warriors, going 9-4 in road games, including an unbeaten record in road Region 16 games.
“We like the road,” said sophomore Apiphany Woods. “We win on the road. We take care of business. It doesn’t matter if we’re on the road or not.”
Iowa Western uses mostly a zone defense with some man-on-man thrown in, but that’s a look Bucher feels his team is ready for.
“Most teams have played us zone all year,” he said.
Iowa Western comes in with a lot of size with eight players standing 5-10 or taller, but Bucher hopes to counter that with the Lady Roadrunners’ speed and depth.
“We’re going to make it a full-court tempo game, and that’s something they’re not used to,” he said. “Most teams I’ve seen in films mostly pick them up at the free throw line at their end. We’re going to be picking them up full court. We’ll press. We’ll trap and hopefully get them into our rhythm.”
The Lady Reivers have played five games against Region 16 teams so far, going 3-2. The Lady Reivers beat Mineral Area 81-72 in November, lost a pair of games to Moberly Area and beat Crowder twice.
“I expect it to be a tough game, a physical game,” Woods said. “We were both top in our regions and I expect it to be a good game.”