With just four teams qualifying for the conference tournament, things are coming right down to the wire in the Atlantic 10, with this weekend’s match between Hannah Peric’s UMass side and Alyssa Van Heurck’s La Salle potentially having major ramifications on the make-up of the tournament. A midweek loss to Saint Joseph’s set UMass back slightly in their pursuit of top spot, and whilst they do still sit in first place, they have now played two games more than Saint Louis, who sit just a point behind. Meanwhile, La Salle sit three points out of the tournament spots but have a game in hand on many of the five teams sitting between them and a postseason berth. With just a week and a half left in the regular season, this is definitely one of the matches to watch, particularly as both Peric and Van Heurck are set to see plenty of playing time in this crucial match.
Meanwhile, further south, Alabama State and their Aussie duo of Grace Norbury and Sophie Bui will be looking to wrap up an undefeated regular season against in-state rival Alabama A&M. The Hornets sit on 16 points through six games, tied with Grambling State who have played an additional game. However, Alabama A&M sit in third spot so this will not be a walk in the park for Alabama State. Ashley Commens and Grambling State will be fully expected to pick up the three points against lowly Arkansas-Pine Bluff, but that game will be complete before the Yellowhammer State Derby commences, so the Hornets will know exactly what they need to do to secure the regular season title.
Moving west to Texas, Madison McComasky was in sparkling form for Incarnate Word last week and will look to maintain that level as the Cardinals look to secure the highest seeding possible for the Southland Conference tournament. Sitting in a healthy fourth spot, this week’s opponents could barely be more different as Incarnate Word looks to make a late charge up the table. Northwestern State are currently second on the table, five points ahead of Incarnate Word, and a win would be absolutely crucial to the Cardinals’ chances. Meanwhile, Central Arkansas sit third from bottom on the table – a potential banana-skin, no doubt, but a team that Incarnate Word should pick up three points against. If McComasky can reprise her form against Nicholls State last week, midfield supremacy won’t be an issue, and it may just see the team from San Antonio come away with six points this week.
All six eligible teams will feature in this year’s Western Athletic Conference tournament, but regardless, Sandra Hill and Grand Canyon will certainly be looking to move up from their current spot as the potential fourth seed with a pair of wins this weekend. It won’t be easy though; those games come against top team California Baptist, who ironically are one of the teams in the league ineligible for the tournament as they complete their transition from NCAA Division II. Hill returned to the lineup after a couple of weeks playing reduced minutes, and hopefully that trend continues as the senior looks to finish the season on a high. Two wins this week would set Grand Canyon on the right trajectory to make that a reality.
Finally, yet another program fell victim to a cancelled season, with D’arne Boato’s East Tennessee State side cancelling the final three games of its campaign “due to opt-outs and injuries that have left the squad below the Southern Conference’s recommended guidelines at a key position.”
Alabama State (Grace Norbury, Sophie Bui)
This week: v Alabama A&M – 10am, Saturday April 3
Butler (Claire Farrington)
This week: @ Xavier – 3am, Sunday April 4
Creighton (Renee Pountney)
This week: @ Marquette – 4am, Friday April 2; v DePaul – 4am, Monday April 5
Eastern Illinois (Ashleigh Harvie)
No games this week.
Grambling State (Ashley Commens)
This week: @ Arkansas-Pine Bluff – 7am, Saturday April 3
Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)
This week: v Cal Baptist – 1pm, Friday April 2; v Cal Baptist – 7am, Sunday April 4
Hofstra (Grace Watson Carr)
This week: @ Drexel – 5am, Friday April 2
Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre)
This week: @ Northwestern – 3am, Sunday April 4
Incarnate Word (Madison McComasky)
This week: @ Central Arkansas – 11am, Friday April 2; @ Northwestern State – 3am, Sunday April 4
La Salle (Alyssa Van Heurck)
This week: @ Massachusetts – 8am, Sunday April 4
Marshall (Laura Farrelly)
This week: @ Charlotte – 8am, Saturday April 3
Massachusetts (Hannah Peric)
This week: v La Salle – 8am, Saturday April 3
Nicholls State (Shauni Reid)
This week: v Texas A&M-Corpus Christi – 7am, Friday April 2; v Houston Baptist – 6am, Sunday April 4
Rhode Island (Teresa Morrissey)
This week: @ Saint Joseph’s – 8:30am, Sunday April 4
San Francisco (Ashley Jordan)
This week: v Santa Clara – 6am, Sunday April 4
St. Francis Brooklyn (Jazzmin Forwood)
No games this week.
Stanford (Amy Sayer)
This week: @ Arizona – 2pm, Saturday April 3; @ Arizona State – 7am, Monday April 5
Tennessee-Martin (Kiarnie Latham)
This week: v Eastern Kentucky – 10am, Saturday April 3
UMBC (Abi Jordan)
This week: @ UMass-Lowell – 2am, Sunday April 4
USC (Talia Grossman)
This week: v Washington – 12pm, Saturday April 3; v Washington State – 5am, Monday April 5
Washington State (Aly Hay)
This week: @ UCLA – 12pm, Saturday April 3; @ USC – 5am, Monday April 5
Wyoming (Indianna Asimus)
This week: @ Colorado State – 6am, Sunday April 4