'COMING TOGETHER': Ferguson reflects on NSU's improved play

Feb. 7—Northeastern State women's basketball Head Coach Keith Ferguson has seen his team grow over the past month and a half.

Right now, the RiverHawks sit at 11-10 and in eighth place in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association — and they fit into the playoffs. While they are still not the top team in the MIAA, the RiverHawks have clearly improved since the start of the season. Case in point: The RiverHawks were beaten down by Washburn by nearly 20 points. But when WU came to NSU on Saturday, Feb. 3, the RiverHawks picked up a 66-62 win to put them over .500 for the year.

"I think our team is doing a great job of coming together; they are doing a great job working together," Ferguson said. "We are starting to figure things out, competing at a high level. It makes it a lot of fun and gives you a chance to win more games."

During that win over WU, the RiverHawks looked like they were on the way to another big loss. Down by 14, with just two minutes left, the RiverHawks found their footing and caught fire to take the four-point win.

"To have the toughness to fight back, that shows growth from October to now. I am excited at how hard they are playing for one another and NSU," Ferguson said. "I think we are guarding a lot better. We are playing with better pace and tempo."

NSU has shown they can improve, and with about three weeks left in the season, they are looking to play their best possible basketball.

Seven games remain in the season, and with a chance at the playoffs on the line, Ferguson noted how every game matters for the RiverHawks, going forward.

"We have to get better every day," Ferguson said. "We have to keep being dialed and stay ready to go. We have to know everyone is out to get us, because wins are harder to get at the end of the year."

Over the past seven games, the schedule favors the RiverHawks, for the most part. During the end-of-season stretch, NSU has a 4-3 record against the remaining schedule.

Ferguson has been drilling into his team that every game going forward is important. Despite what happened earlier this season, winning games is the focus over the past seven outings.

"Right now, it is still the same thing. You don't need to freak out about how many games are left; you just need to go out and play. You can control the focus and energy you have. If you focus on those, everything else will take care of itself," Ferguson said.

NSU's next task comes against their rival, Rogers State University. After losing on the road earlier this season, the RiverHawks are looking to get their win back on their home court.

Earlier this season, the RiverHawks were dropped by RSU, 58-44. That loss marked the second in a three-game losing streak for NSU. Coming into the game, RSU ranks 11th in the MIAA. RSU sits with a 4-11 record in MIAA play, while the RiverHawks sit with a 7-8 conference record.

"Rogers State is a rivalry. It doesn't matter record, or how teams have been playing; you have to be ready to go, and it should be a really tight game on Saturday," Ferguson said.

The RiverHawks tip off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10 against RSU at home.

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