The Bobcat men’s and women’s basketball teams began the 2016-17 season in the beginning of November, starting off with non-conference play and beginning their Big Sky seasons in late December. The men were undefeated at home for the first six home games, but are now 8-12, and 2-4 in conference play. Meanwhile, the women had a promising start to the season, remaining undefeated at home with a winning record of 11-5 overall, and 4-2 in conference play. The remaining games of the season will determine each team’s chances of making the Big Sky Conference Tournament, March 6-11.
After a successful start to the season, the women’s team has high hopes to become back-to-back Big Sky Conference Champions after winning the title for the 2015-16 season. The women have an impressive record at home at 6-0, but have struggled with away games, losing five out of nine. The team has lost two conference games to Idaho State on Dec. 31 and Northern Colorado on Jan. 14.
Senior Peyton Ferris has been a main component for the Bobcats’ success this season. Ferris was the Big Sky Conference preseason MVP pick, and so far, she is holding that title well. On Jan. 12, she became the the Cats’ 22nd player to join the 1,000-point club, with a season high 32 points against conference rival, University of North Dakota. The Bobcats defeated UND in overtime 74-71. Ferris also earned Big Sky Player of the Week on Jan. 10 after impressive performances against Eastern Washington and Idaho.
Head Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Binford is focused on team improvements this spring. “I’d love to see progression in our offensive execution,” she said. “When we attack to share the ball we are at our best, and defensively we need to continue being solid in transition and dominating the rebound edge.”
The team continues conference play Jan. 19 in Bozeman against Sacramento State at 7 p.m. With seven of the last 12 games taking place at home, the women look to continue their winning streak and finish at the top of the Big Sky Conference. “If we continue trusting the process and focusing on getting better every day, we can position ourselves as a Big Sky [Conference] contender,” Binford said.
The Bobcat men had a promising start to the season, but injuries and academic suspensions were harmful to the team. The team was successful in the first month of the season but since December, they lost seven consecutive games and have won only two conference games. The program has struggled for the past few seasons, but Head Coach Brian Fish has slowly improved the team and in the 2015-16 season, doubled the Cats’ wins from the previous season.
One of Fish’s most successful recruits, sophomore Tyler Hall, has been very successful on the court this season. Hall consistently leads the team in points, averaging 21.3 points per game, along with 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Hall reached the 1,000-point club in a game against North Dakota, his 49th game as a Bobcat. He is one of five known all-time Big Sky Conference players to reach the 1,000-point in less than 50 games. Hall is also the only Bobcat to reach the club as early as he did.
The team struggled with injuries that benched some key players. The Cats were without junior forward Joe Mvuezolo Jr. for six games due to an unspecified cardiology issue. Mvuezolo was cleared on Jan. 9 after nationally-renowned cardiology specialists determined he was able to return immediately.
With a losing record, the team needs to address their shortcomings and improve in certain areas, mainly defense, to turn their season around. The Bobcats have five more home games in the season, and will continue conference play on Jan. 19 against Sacramento State in Sacramento, California.