You know the term “crunch time”?
That’s what is facing the Mount Marty College women’s basketball team and its bid for another appearance in the NAIA National Tournament.
Including today’s (Saturday) home game against Nebraska Wesleyan, the Lancers have six Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) games remaining in the regular season.
If Mount Marty (13-9, 8-6) is to qualify for nationals, it will have to remain among the top five teams in the conference standings.
As it stands prior to today’s game, the Lancers sit in fifth place. At most, the GPAC will send five teams to the national tournament, not six — though a case could be made.
Making that end goal even more challenging for the Lancers is that after today’s game with Nebraska Wesleyan, they close the regular season against Briar Cliff, Northwestern, Hastings, Morningside and Concordia — with only two of those at home.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that Mount Marty would need to reach the 20-win mark this season. With seven games total left in the regular season, it would almost require the Lancers to win five of those games and make a run in the GPAC post-season tournament.
If the Lancers can somehow hang on to the fifth-place position, they would be in good shape. If they slip to sixth or even seventh, they would have their work cut for them.
In other words, Mount Marty has a chance to win its way into another national tournament appearance, but it’s certainly an up-hill battle.