The hard work is done for the Lincoln women's basketball team, but that doesn't mean they can relax today.
Heading into an odd Friday night game, the Blue Tigers will be looking to pick up a key victory today in Hays, Kan., against the Fort Hays State Tigers.
With a win in their last time out, a 72-56 win at home over Lindenwood, the Blue Tigers locked up a spot in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Tournament. But today's 5:30 p.m. contest will be important when it comes to seeding for the event.
With a victory, Lincoln could finish as high as eighth place in the league standings, which would ensure they host a first-round game in the tournament. But with a loss and the results of other conference games, the Blue Tigers could drop as low as 12th.
In Tuesday's first round, the No. 9 seed plays at No. 8, No. 12 at No. 5, No. 11 at No. 6, and No. 10 at No. 7. The winners of those games will join the first through fourth seeds March 8-10 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City for the remainder of the tournament.
But getting a win could be tough for Lincoln (11-14 overall, 6-11 MIAA), as Fort Hays State (19-6, 11-6) is currently tied for sixth in the league.
The Tigers are led by the 1-2 punch of 6-foot-4 sophomore center Kate Lehman and 6-foot junior guard Katelyn Edwards. Lehman is averaging 15.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, while Edwards racks up 13.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest.
Fort Hays State is outscoring opponents by an average margin this season of 69.0-54.1.
This is the lone regular-season meeting between the schools this season.
A long season will finally come to a close for the Lincoln men's team today, but not before the Blue Tigers have to face one more tall task.
Struggling through a 3-24 season that has seen them go 2-15 in the MIAA, the Blue Tigers have to take on the league's second-place team at 7:30 p.m.
Fort Hays State (18-7, 12-5) is looking to lock up a first-round bye with a win over Lincoln. But with a loss, the Tigers could finish outside the top four and be forced to host a first-round contest.
Fort Hays State has four players averaging in double figures, led by Dwayne Brunson at 15.6 points per game. The others are Lance Russell (13.9), Craig Nicholson (13.5) and Ben Congiusta (12.4).
Brunson also leads the team in rebounding with 7.5 per contest.
A lone bright note this season for the Blue Tigers has been the scoring of Cedric Ridle Jr., who comes into the contest averaging 21.2 points per game to lead the league.
The senior has all but locked up the conference scoring title. Even if he were to go scoreless today, the player in second place, Washburn's Will McNeill, would have to score 70 points to have the two end tied in their per-game average.