TACOMA, Wash.—This weekend the Puget Sound men’s and women’s basketball programs will host their counterparts from eastern Washington, but much more than just basketball will be taking place at Memorial Fieldhouse on Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8.
Puget Sound basketball will host Whitworth on Friday, Feb. 7. The women’s game between the Loggers and the Pirates tips off at 6:00 p.m. and the men’s game will start at 8:00 p.m. During halftime of the men’s contest, performers from The Young Ambassadors of Physical Education will entertain Logger fans while the teams are in the locker room. The Young Ambassadors, presented by Tacoma Public Schools, are a group of elementary-aged students who perform skills introduced in physical education classes throughout the Tacoma school district. They promote lifetime physical fitness for people of all ages.
Friday isn’t just a halftime show, however, as both basketball games will feature two of the better teams in the Northwest Conference. The women’s game will pit the Nos. 3 and 4 teams in the conference against each other as Whitworth is third with an 8-2 conference mark while the Loggers are fourth after going 6-4 in conference action. Both squads are fighting to remain in a top-four position and in line for a berth in the conference tournament after the regular season. Whitworth features the highest scoring offense in the league, averaging 75.4 points a game, and a stingy defense that allows 61.8 points a night. The Loggers are no slouches in either category either, scoring 71.3 points and allowing just 64.6 every game.
The Friday nightcap featuring the Logger men’s squad and the Pirates men’s team is a matchup of No. 1 versus No. 3. Whitworth leads the conference with a 9-1 record and Puget Sound is both two spots and two games behind, ranking third in the NWC with a 7-3 mark. That game will feature two of the stingiest defenses in the league as Whitworth allows 67.1 points a night and the Loggers just 69.2. Puget Sound holds the defensive edge, however, by tallying a 5.8 rebounding margin and holding opponents to just a 39.3 field goal percentage.
Saturday is an even busier day as the Loggers host Whitman. Both games start two hours earlier than usual – the women’s game tips off at 4:00 p.m. and the men’s game goes off at 6:00 p.m. In between the two games, the Logger Club will host a reception for all former Division III athletes in room 117 of Memorial Fieldhouse. The reception, held in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of NCAA Division III, will feature complementary food and drinks and will allow former teammates and school friends the opportunity to reunite and cheer on the current Loggers. The party starts at 5:30 p.m., shortly before the anticipated end of the women’s game, and goes until 6:30 p.m.
During halftime of the men’s game between Puget Sound and Whitman, the Logger athletic department will honor the Logger men’s and women’s soccer teams, Kathryn Flyte of cross country, and all other fall athletes who earned postseason conference honors. The soccer teams will be recognized for their NCAA tournament runs while Flyte will be honored for her performance in the NCAA Cross Country Championship meet as she was the first woman to represent Puget Sound in the meet since 2009.
The basketball games between the Missionaries and Loggers will also be important for Puget Sound. Whitman’s women’s basketball squad is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation by d3hoops.com and is one of six undefeated teams left in Division III. The Missionaries are second in the NWC in points scored and points allowed, forcing 75.3 points a night and allowing 57.0 a game. They lead the league in rebounds by grabbing 44.0 boards a contest, and they sit atop the NWC standings with a perfect 10-0 conference mark as well.
The Whitman men are second in the NWC, just one spot and one game ahead of Puget Sound with an 8-2 conference mark. The Missionaries average 81.2 points a contest, the conference’s second highest average, but they allow 72.1 points themselves, seventh in the league in that category. They lead the conference in 3-point percentage, making 37.3% of shots from beyond the arc.
Basketball isn’t the only Puget Sound sport going on this weekend as both baseball and track & field compete as well. The baseball squad kicks off its 2014 campaign at Saint Martin’s in Lacey, Wash. The Loggers will square off three times against the Saints, kicking off the campaign with a single game at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8. The two teams meet again Sunday, Feb. 9, for a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m. again. The second game of the twin bill is slated for a 3:00 p.m. first pitch.
Also on Saturday, Feb. 8, the track and field squad will send representatives group of athletes to the Vandal Open at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho. It is the first time a plethora of the track and field squad will compete in the 2014 season as only three athletes competed in the UW Preview Jan. 18 and two competed at the Husky Invitational Jan. 31-Feb. 1.
Results and recaps from all of this weekend’s action will be available at www.LoggerAthletics.com. Also, live stats will be available for all four basketball games and all three baseball games on the Loggers website, and the basketball games will also have live video streams as well.