Feb 27, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorCentral Wyoming College women's basketball coach Serol Stauffenberg and men's coach Pat Rafferty will be in different states during their respective Region IX tournaments.
The single-elimination women's tournament is hosted by Western Wyoming College in Rock Springs.
The men's tournament is played in Sterling, Colo., and Northeastern Junior College.
Western won the regular season Region IX North division. Northeastern captured the Region IX men's South division.
The CWC women start the do-or-die tournament Sunday vs. Eastern Wyoming.
Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.
Stauffenberg guided the Rustlers to a 12-15 overall record and 6-10 in conference play to place sixth in the division.
"Our players recognize the significance of each game, but I've stressed to them that it should not change how you play the game," Stauffenberg said.
The Rustler men start the postseason Saturday in a 1 p.m. contest vs. North Plate (Neb.) Community College.
"We have to do a good job of controlling tempo and making it a half-court game," Rafferty said. "We need to take care of the ball offensively and do a good of transition defense."
CWC was 12-16 overall and 6-10 in conference under first-year coach Rafferty. The men were seventh in the Region IX North.
The Lady Rustlers have momentum on their side after beating Northwest College last Saturday at Rustler Gym.
"More than anything, we have started making better decisions on a more consistent basis," Stauffenberg said.
The key part of the turnaround has been the play of CWC's defense.
"Defensively, we are playing as well as we have played all year," Stauffenberg said. "We have learned to acknowledge strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. Equally as important, we have started finishing the defensive end with better rebounding."
CWC's opening round opponent, Eastern Wyoming, finished the season at 18-12 on the season and 7-5 in the region.
"Eastern doesn't present any huge mismatches, nor do we with them." Stauffenberg said. "Eastern is generally a fast-paced team that likes to shoot the 3-pointer."
The winner of the CWC-Eastern plays the winner of McCook Community College-Casper College at 3 p.m Monday in the quarterfinals.
"This tournament is probably the most wide-open of any year," Stauffenberg said. "The team with the most depth has an advantage because you have to play four days in a row."
The Rustlers have the difficult challenge of playing a 25-4 team in North Platte Com-munity College.
"A team that racks up that many wins has to have confidence in what they are doing and their abilities," Rafferty said.
North Platte was second in the Region IX South division.
"Physically, we matchup more with them than we do with a lot of teams in our sub-
region," Rafferty said.
"Their size is more like ours. "They a very skilled team. They are just solid."
North Plate ended the season with a perfect conference mark of 8-0 at home and were 4-4 on the road.
CWC had a 2-5 home league mark and a 4-5 away mark.
The winner of the CWC-North Platte games plays Monday at 1 p.m. vs the winner of Casper College (No. 3 seed from North) vs. Lamar (No. 6 seed from the South).
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