The Howard College womenâ€™s basketball team needs a lot of help as far as making the Region V Tournament is concerned. Head coach Earl Diddle knows that much.
In order to clinch a berth, the Hawks not only have to take care of Frank Phillips at 5:45 p.m. today in Dorothy Garrett Coliseum, South Plains has to beat New Mexico Junior College and Midland College has to beat Odessa.
â€śWeâ€™ve got to do what weâ€™ve got to do and then weâ€™re at the hands of these other people, which is not a real good feeling,â€ť Diddle said. â€śBut thatâ€™s the position weâ€™re in.â€ť
At 5-6 in conference play, the Hawks are a full game behind 6-5 New Mexico Junior College. Howard hasnâ€™t exactly helped itself out the last few games, with four losses in its last five conference contests.
The Hawks have dropped games to South Plains, Midland, Western Texas and Odessa down the stretch.
The latest loss â€” a 66-45 affair at Odessa Monday â€” was a tough one to take, considering the position the Hawks are now in.
â€śI donâ€™t think we quit,â€ť Diddle said of Mondayâ€™s game. â€śWe just didnâ€™t rebound the ball. We looked at the film, we played very well. We just did not block them out whatsoever. I think they scored 24 points from second (chance) shots.
â€śIt was just a matter of fact that we let an athletic team become
Tonight the Hawks will face a team with nothing to gain or lose. Frank Phillips is 0-11 in conference play and the Hawks already beat this team in Borger 65-49 earlier this season.
Just because the Hawks face an 0-11 conference team tonight doesnâ€™t mean they should relax, though.
Diddle said a team like Frank Phillips is a dangerous one to face. The Plainsmen have talent, a good scheme and have given a few teams problems this season. Underestimating them would be a mistake.
The Hawks experienced a little bit of that in the Western Texas loss at home Feb.17. The Lady Westerners had nothing to play for and the Hawks needed a win to avoid being in a situation like tonightâ€™s.
â€śTheyâ€™re coming down, thereâ€™s no emphasis on mistakes, theyâ€™re free to do whatever they want to do and thereâ€™s no consequences,â€ť Diddle said of Frank Phillips. â€śThereâ€™s absolutely no pressure.â€ť
Diddle and the Hawks arenâ€™t putting much pressure on themselves, either.
The head coach said his players have to control what they can and if everything works out, theyâ€™ll be in the Region V Tournament. If not, Diddle said the Hawks could have a 21-win season to be proud of heading into the offseason.
The Hawk men are already in the Region V Tournament, sitting at 11-2 as the No. 2 team in the conference. They have a lot more to play for, though. A Howard win over Frank Phillips at 7:45 p.m. and an Odessa College win over Midland would give the Hawks a share of the conference title. Midland already clinched a share of the title Monday. Midland and Howard split games this season.
With tonight being the regular season finale for both the Howard women and men, the teamsâ€™ sophomore will be honored in between games.
For the women, Taniqua Ards, Twyla Ards, Jackie Bartleson and University of Houston signee Tasha Tubbs will be honored. Taniqua, Twyla and Tubbs have all been key players for the Hawks this season.
The same could be said for Carlos Emory and Joe Bright on the menâ€™s side.
The two were key to the Hawk menâ€™s national championship last season and returned this year as leaders of the team. Corey Stern and Johnnie Lacy are also sophomores.