Consistency certainly hasn’t been a strong point for the Black Hills State University women’s basketball team this season.
Or you could say the Yellow Jackets have consistently been inconsistent.
Black Hills State has gone from one of the preseason favorites (ranked second in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference coaches preseason poll) to sitting in third place a month ago, two games out of first. Now, the Jackets are fifth and fighting for a playoff berth with a week to go in the league standings.
The top four teams host a first-round playoff game, while the top eight squads move on to the postseason.
The Jackets had a chance to solidly their playoff position last Saturday, but fell — and fell hard — to Colorado Christian at home, 75-50. The loss moved Christian to 12-7 in league play, while BHSU is at 11-8.
The Yellow Jackets, who defeated Colorado School of Mines on Friday night, haven’t won back-to-back (Friday-Saturday) league games since early January.
Black Hills State has three games remaining — at Colorado State-Pueblo (12-6) and Colorado-Colorado Springs (14-4) this weekend before closing out the regular season at home on Feb. 28 against Chadron State.
Things would be a little more promising for Black Hills State if not for the jumbled league standings, where the fourth through eighth positions are just separated by one game in the loss column, with the ninth team two losses behind Colorado Christian.
As they say in the election prediction business, it’s too close to call at this point.
Black Hills State could use a split on the weekend and a win over Chadron State for a likely solid fifth-place finish. They likely will need one more win, period, to get in the playoffs. Three losses could have them looking in from the outside, depending on how the rest of the RMAC schedule plays out.
Last season the Black Hills State women got going at the right time — basically at this time — and went all of the way to the league’s title game before falling to Colorado Mesa.
They need a little déjà vu, all over again.
For the Yellow Jacket men, their chances are still slim to make the top eight as they stand two games behind eighth-place Colorado Christian with three to go.
They stayed alive last Saturday by winning a two-overtime thriller over Colorado Christian. It will take more of that and then some to get that eighth and final playoff spot.
For BHSU, it would need to win out and likely get some help. The odds, at least on paper, aren’t in their favor as Colorado Springs is 14-4 in league play and Pueblo is 13-5. Even Chadron State (6-13), the team they host in the regular-season finale, is playing much better in the second half of the season.
It’s no secret that the Jackets have had the knack of playing teams close this season with seven overtime games, including three double overtime contests. BHSU has won four of those games. At the same time, a couple of those losses probably shouldn’t have gone into overtime in the first place, so that will play a part in the team’s failure to earn a playoffs berth if that is the case.
It could be an interesting final week or so for both teams.