Both the St. Joseph's College men's and women's basketball programs will take winning streaks on a Missouri road trip this week.
The women have won four in a row and the men three in a row. Both play at Missouri S&T today and at Drury on Saturday.
The men are 7-7 overall and 2-2 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Senior Nathan Tidwell said winning their first three games of 2016 has helped the Pumas.
"It definitely got our confidence up and we have to build off that," Tidwell said. "Part of the reason is we are playing better defense. Last year we tried to outscore teams, this year, we are doing more help-side defense. I know for me, my defense has picked up more.
"We are still getting our run-outs and dunks, but we are trying to stop teams."
The Pumas are scoring 84.1 points per game, while yielding 86.9. Last year, the Pumas allowed 83.4 points per game, but only scored 74.1 per game.
Coach Tom Church said his team is distributing the ball more on offense. In a win over Maryville, six players were in double figures.
"We are not counting on just one or two guys to score, and we are sharing the ball," Church said. "We are improving each game, but we are not there yet. We're are playing together and that is the key."
Tidwell said the team is not satisfied.
"We are not and Coach Church told us he will not let us be satisfied," Tidwell said. "He still gets on us in practice, pushes us and that is good. We want to keep winning."
Tidwell is averaging 12.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Davone Daniels is averaging 11.5 points and Nick Jeffirs (Crown Point) is scoring at an 11.1 clip. Three others are averaging 9.1 points per game each.
Last year, the Pumas were 11-18.
The women's team is 10-4 and 3-1 respectively and coach Steve Harold said the success can be attributed to team play.
"Our assist numbers are up, and the kids have bought into what we are doing," Harold said. "We go one game at a time, and it has been a work in progress every day."
Lauren Davis, who was recently named the GLVC player of the week, leads the team in scoring with 16.9 points per game/ Kalea Parks (14.9 ppg) and Crown Point grad Courtney Kvachkoff (12.3 ppg) are also averaging in double figures.
Surging Crimson Wave: The Calumet College men's basketball team beat NAIA No. 2 St. Francis (Ill.) 63-57, but fell to Clarke (Iowa).
Senior Marcus Moody said the win was a big one for the team's confidence, but the players have to keep up that level.
"Not a lot of teams can go out and beat a No. 2 team, so it showed what we can do if we play together," Moody said. "We have a lot of season left and if we build off this win, the sky is the limit for us."
Crimson Wave coach Ryan Sexson said the win showed the team it could compete against the best, but it does not make a season.
"The win against Saint Francis was obviously a big one for our program, but it's one game that happened last week," Sexson said. "We have to move on to the challenges ahead of us this week."
Calumet College was 12-6 overall and 7-2 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference before Wednesday's game at Holy Cross.
Onto Arkansas: After a nearly two-month break, the Valparaiso women's bowling team, which is ranked No. 15 in the National Tenpin Coaches Association poll, travels to Jonesboro, Ark., Friday for the three-day Mid-Winter Classic.
The Crusaders were 12th last year.
Crimson Wave bowlers in big meet: The Calumet College men's and women's bowling teams will compete in this weekend's Midwest Classic in Addison, Ill.
The women are coming off a second-place finish at the Eagles Baker Challenge, while the men were third.
A look into the future: The Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central men's basketball teams will meet Wednesday at the LaPorte Civic Auditorium for a peek as to what next year's Purdue Northwest team might look like.
The two schools become one on July 1, and athletic programs will be called The Pride.
The teams meet again on Feb. 20 at Purdue Calumet.
According to Purdue Calumet's website, the PNW baseball, soccer, softball and tennis teams will compete and practice at the Dowling Park Athletics Complex in Hammond. Home contest and practice sites for basketball, cross country, golf and volleyball teams have yet to be determined.