After playing two of the worst teams in the Mid-American Conference at home this past week, the women's basketball team's schedule turns 180 degrees.
The Cardinals travel to Western Michigan to face a young Bronco squad that has turned around a dying program.
The main reason for the upheaval in Kalamazoo, Mich., is one player - Kristin Koetsier. Last year Koetsier was a Freshman All-American. This season, she is the Broncos' leading scorer, averaging 15 points a game.
"She is a very good three-point shooter and very good off the dribble; she's physical in the post," head coach Tracy Roller said. "I don't know if we have anyone who can stop her."
Roller said the main problem for the Cardinals (13-4 overall, 5-1 MAC) is going to be the post of the taller Bronco team. And ,at times, the Cardinals have struggled with teams that play inside the paint, like Marshall and Northern Illinois. Plus, Roller said Western (9-10 overall, 6-1 MAC) is no longer just a one-woman team.
"Koetsier's freshman year it was the 'Koetsier Show,'" Roller said. "But now their support staff around her has gotten a lot better."
Senior Karen Deurloo, the Broncos' second-leading scorer has emerged as one of the best players in the MAC, and Western had one of the best recruiting classes in the league. Leading the class is Casey Rost, a three-point shooting specialist.
"This matchup between Rost and Kate Endress could possibly decide the MAC Freshman of the Year," Roller said. "Right now their numbers are going head to head."
Endress is averaging 10.9 points per game while Rost is boasting a 14.4 average.
Roller said the key to stopping the post play is going to be containing Western's guards. She said stopping the guards early and keeping them from seeing the floor or taking open shots will dictate the game.
But, as has been the story for the Cardinals the past few weeks, playing a complete game will be the deciding factor. Roller said after defeating Akron Saturday the team was closer to its goal of playing a complete 40 minutes, but it is not quite there yet.
"Everything we're thinking is just taking care of business," Roller said. "I feel like we know we can play 40 minutes after the Akron game. We're not even thinking about not starting well and not playing 40 minutes, because we have to against Western."