The Seattle Redhawks might be the hottest women’s basketball team in the Western Athletic Conference right now. Seattle has won four straight games — including one that ended New Mexico State’s 21-game WAC winning streak.
The Redhawks (10-10, 4-1 WAC) have a date with Cal State Bakersfield (9-10, 3-2) on Saturday in the Icardo Center at 1 p.m.
“They’re playing real well right now,” CSUB head coach Greg McCall said. “They’re on a nice little roll. But they’re coming here and we have to take care of home. That’s going to be very, very, very important that we take care of home.”
CSUB’s biggest challenge will be stopping preseason WAC player of the year Alexis Montgomery. She leads the conference’s top scoring offense with 20.8 points per game.
Montgomery is leading the WAC in points per game, rebounds per game, and double doubles. Her 384 shot attempts this season are fifth most in the country.
“She’s, right now, playing MVP basketball,” McCall said. “We gotta do something to eliminate that. We gotta eliminate her touches. ... She shoots 3s, she’ll post up and so we gotta do a good job against her. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a team that’s pretty darn good, but she carries them a lot.”
McCall’s plan is to stop Montgomery “by committee” with a combination of No. 1 defender Jazmine Johnson and guards Kate Tokuhara and Alize’ Lofton. McCall likes Johnson’s speed and Lofton’s strength to keep Montgomery out of the post.
CSUB’s defense is the best in the WAC in terms of points allowed per game, but Seattle’s has been stout recently. The Redhawks’ four best defensive performances have all come in the last four games, holding opponents to 56 (twice), 58 and 59 points.
A win for the Roadrunners would move them into at least a tie for second place in the WAC with Seattle and possibly a three-way tie for first if New Mexico State loses on Saturday.