(SAINT JOSEPH, Mo.) The ladies of Missouri Western and Northwest add another chapter to the their rivalry Saturday.
While head coaches Gene Steinmeyer and Lynn Plett are no longer patrolling the sidelines, their successors have made this a more intriguing matchup that it would've looked at this time last year.
Of course, a matchup between the Griffons and Bearcats brings with it the obvious talking points.
"Mo. West is definitely our biggest rival in the MIAA," Northwest guarde Ashleigh Nelson said. "We're a 45-minute drive from each other. But we're going to come in hard, harder than they will."
"We have a lot of new faces this year," Western guard Kallie Schoonover said, "so a lot of girls haven't quite experienced the Northwest-Missouri Western rivalry."
There will be some newbies getting acclamaited to the rivalry this Saturday in St. Joseph, including first year head coaches Rob Edmisson and Mark Kellogg. Both have already made their mark, making this an important game in the MIAA season.
"Last year, neither one of these programs were relevant, so it makes for a fun game, Edmisson said. "Both of us are still talking about where we could finish in conference. Could we finish in the top five? Could we get a bye?"
I would put as of now from what i've seen, Western's as good as any team we've played this year for sure," Kellogg said.
Both teams have already surpassed last year's win total after the two programs combined for just 13 this past season. An influx of new talent has helped that process, which is something both teams will try to exploit on tomorrow.
"Western's going to present plenty of challenges so we're going to find out quickly on Saturday if we've corrected anything. I think Heather Howard's pretty special and they're great around her. That's what presents some problems for us."
"Their speed and athleticism is going to bother us and we understand that. We've got to try to figure out other ways around that. "
"I would anticipate they will try to hurt us inside with their size and strength," Edmisson said. "We're going to try to bring their big kids away from the basket and make them try to guard out on the perimiter. Again, it's just a battle of wills."
But, as the coaches prepare to win the inaugural round of the showdown, the focus is not on their counterpart or the past between theses two schools."
"We want to win this game no matter who's coaching, just as much as we want to win every other game," Kellogg said.
"Whether it's a green jersey, purple jersey, black jersey, it's another game we need a win in order for our program to take another step forward," added Edmisson.
Tipoff is set for 1:30 at the MWSU Fieldhouse.