The Lincoln men's and women's basketball teams are set for the final road trips of the season tonight and Saturday.
The Lincoln women, coming off a 64-51 win against Northwest Missouri to snap a 10-game losing streak last Saturday at Jason Gym, will begin tonight's MIAA doubleheader at 5:30 p.m. at Nebraska-Kearney. The men's game will tip off around 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Lincoln will play at Fort Hays State.
The Lincoln men had its four-game winning streak come to and end with a 75-57 loss to Northwest Missouri, but the Blue Tigers are still in position to earn a bye in the MIAA Tournament.
With six games remaining, Lincoln (16-6, 9-4 MIAA) is fourth in the conference standings behind Northwest Missouri, Washburn and Missouri Southern. The top four teams automatically make the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
Five of the Blue Tigers' remaining six games are against teams below them in the standings: Nebraska-Kearney, Fort Hays State, Lindenwood, Southwest Baptist and Central Missouri.
The Nebraska-Kearney Lopers are at the bottom of the MIAA at 8-14 overall, 3-10 in the conference.
The Lopers are coming off a 65-63 win last Saturday at Pittsburg State.
Kanon Koster is the lone Loper averaging double digits in scoring with 16.2 points per game. The 6-foot-4 forward is also tied with AJ Jackson for the team lead with 6.0 rebounds per game.
The Lopers are last in the MIAA in scoring offense (68.1), but are sixth in scoring defense (72.9). The Blue Tigers average 76.5 points per game, which ranks ninth in the MIAA, and allow an average of 71.6 points per game, which ranks third in the conference.
Lincoln has four players averaging in double figures in scoring: Terrance Smith (16.6), Amariontez Ivory (13.7), Jonell Burton (12.9) and Ni'Sean Rigmaden (12.0). Grant Olsson is scoring 9.7 points per game.
Smith, who has five double-doubles this season, averages 6.8 rebounds per game to lead the Blue Tigers.
While the men's team is trying to earn a bye in the MIAA Tournament, the women's team is hoping to move up from 13th in the standings to make the 10-team tournament.
With six games remaining, Lincoln (10-12, 2-11 MIAA) is two games behind 10th-place Missouri Southern (12-12, 4-10 MIAA).
Nebraska-Kearney (13-9, 6-7 MIAA) has alternated wins and losses for the past month. The Lopers fell 68-42 last Saturday at Pittsburg State.
Brooke Carlson (11.0) and Kelsey Sanger (10.7) are the top scorers for the Lopers, who are eighth in the conference with 68 points per game. Lincoln is just ahead of Nebraska-Kearney at 68.3 points per game.
But the Lopers enter tonight's game allowing just 59.5 points per game, the second best mark in the MIAA. Lincoln allows 63.5 points per game, which ranks 10th in the conference.
Nebraska-Kearney has three players averaging at least 5.0 rebounds per game: Shiloh McCool (6.7), Klaire Kirsch (5.6) and Carlson (5.0).
Zhanesha Dickerson, who has scored at least 20 points in three of the last four games, paces the Blue Tigers with 16.6 points per game. She also leads Lincoln with 8.0 rebounds per game, good for third in the MIAA.
Bre Coleman has reached double figures in scoring in five straight games and averages 14.1 points per game for Lincoln.
Zoi Thompson averages 13.5 points and is third in the MIAA with 4.3 assists per game.