With less than three weeks left in the regular season, it's entering crunch-time for the Lincoln men and women.
The Lincoln women can pick up a crucial victory when they travel to play Central Oklahoma at 1:30 p.m. today.
The Blue Tigers sit in a tie for the 12th and final spot in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Tournament with six games remaining.
At 9-11 overall and 4-8 in the league, Lincoln is tied with Southwest Baptist and a game ahead of 3-9 Nebraska-Kearney. Central Oklahoma and Lindenwood both sit at 1-11, but Lindenwood is ineligible for postseason play with this being its final year transitioning to the NCAA Division II level.
There's a bit of good news for Lincoln. Central Oklahoma is on a 10-game losing streak. It's up to the Blue Tigers to capitalize.
Arriana Walker will need to play a big role if Lincoln is to win. The senior point guard leads the team with 13.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.4 steals per game. She ranks 14th in the nation in steals. She also is third on the team with 5.2 rebounds. Freddie Sims tallies 13.3 points and Dahlia Booker adds 11.4 points and 5.9 rebounds.
Alyssa Fuxa leads the Bronchos (8-12 overall) with 11.9 points and Jill Bryan adds 10.8. Courtney Harper snags 6.3 rebounds.
The situation is more dire for the Lincoln men.
The Blue Tigers (3-19, 2-10 MIAA) sit in last place and are 2 1/2 games out of the 12th spot held by Emporia State (4-7), a team Lincoln just lost to Thursday night.
Lincoln looks to make up some ground when it takes on Central Oklahoma (9-11, 7-5) at 3:30 p.m. today.
The Blue Tigers get a little break, really only needing to move ahead of two teams in the MIAA standings to reach the tournament. That's due to Lindenwood (8-4 MIAA) still being ineligible for postseason play.
Truman State sits at 4-8 the in conference and Nebraska-Kearney is 3-9. If Lincoln can surpass both those teams, the Blue Tigers will qualify for the MIAA Tournament.
Lincoln's highest priority will be stopping Josh Gibbs. He leads Central Oklahoma with 17 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Spencer Smith adds 12.5 points for the Bronchos.
The Blue Tigers will need a big game from the MIAA's leading scorer. Cedric Ridle Jr. tops the conference with 19.1 points, 1.1 ahead of Washburn's Will McNeill.
Charles Cole joins the Blue Tiger attack with 14.8 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds.
Note: Lincoln head coach John Redmond was an assistant coach at Central Oklahoma from 1989-93.