OGDEN — If the Wildcats are going to turn a triple play this week, they’re going to have to get the second and third outs at home.
Weber State will play the second of three games in six days tonight, facing Northern Arizona at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center, with Sacramento State on deck next.
“We’ve just got to be aware of giving our guys some rest,” Weber State coach Randy Rahe says of the a changeup from the typical Thursday-Saturday routine of the Big Sky schedule.
The Wildcats took Tuesday off from practice after defeating Idaho State 70-54 in Pocatello on Monday night.
“The biggest thing is keeping our guys fresh and making sure that they get their rest. Other than that, you’ve just got to prepare a little bit quicker,” Rahe said. “The guys have got to be locked in mentally and understand our gameplan. This group’s been pretty good about doing that, but it will be tested this week.”
Senior guard Scott Bamforth said preparing for three games in one week is a little different from the norm.
“For me personally, I like playing games, so it’s good,” Bamforth said. “Just a couple of more ice baths in the week, but nothing really too major. It just speeds up the week a little bit.”
Considering recent temperatures in Ogden, extra ice baths may be unnecessary for the Wildcats — walking outside ought to be enough.
“We know how to get ourselves ready,” senior forward Frank “Mook” Otis said. “We’ve got to get ready for practices so it’s no different. We just approach everything the same way, so we’ve got to get ourselves going.”
Weber State (11-3, 6-0 Big Sky) brings a seven-game winning streak and an unblemished conference record into tonight’s contest. Northern Arizona (5-11, 2-4) is on a different trajectory, having lost three in a row after opening Big Sky play with a 2-1 mark.
WSU has also taken eight in a row against the Lumberjacks, who are currently last in the league in scoring defense (77.4 ppg).
Five-foot-11 freshman guard DeWayne Russell has provided a little spark for Northern Arizona’s offense. Russell leads the Big Sky in scoring at 16.2 ppg, while another senior guard, Gabe Rogers, is sixth at 14.4 ppg.
NAU coach Jack Murphy, 33, is one of the youngest head coaches in the nation, similar to another recent WSU opponent, Southern Utah coach Nick Robinson.
The friendly confines of the Purple Palace have been good to Rahe, who holds an 81-12 record at the Dee Events Center in his seven seasons at WSU and is 46-4 in regular season Big Sky games there.
As Weber State’s win streak grows and its undefeated record in Big Sky Conference play continues, Rahe said he doesn’t feel any extra pressure.
“It doesn’t for me,” Rahe said. “It shouldn’t for the guys because we don’t talk about it. I don’t know; I think we just talk about trying to get better at practice and hopefully have a chance to win our next game. We can’t look at the big picture. It’s too far away, there’s a ton of games to be played and we’ve got a tough, tough stretch coming up.”