Last updated: February 20. 2013 3:41AM - 267 Views

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Trevor Woodruff probably had the right idea.

The Misericordia men's basketball team had just grinded out a victory on Wednesday in a whistlefest against King's, and the coach was already looking ahead.

I don't think you watch the film, Woodruff said of the King's game. I think for us, we focus on Saturday and what's next. As a team, if we're talking about what we did yesterday, we haven't done anything today.

With the Freedom Conference schedule now at the halfway point, it won't be just the Cougars who are shifting their focus forward.

Four of the six local men's and women's teams in the league closed out the first half with a loss.

The stretch run begins today as Wilkes hosts Delaware Valley – with early start times of noon for the women and 2 p.m. for the men – while King's and Misericordia head on the road against DeSales and FDU-Florham, respectively.

MEN (League record)
Misericordia (5-2)

Tied for second place with Delaware Valley, the Cougars will have a tough time tracking down first-place DeSales in the second half. The Bulldogs are unbeaten and were a cut above the rest of the league during the first seven games.

But Misericordia has plenty of time to build on its game as the Cougars look to lock down a playoff spot and defend their conference title.

In the Cougars' favor is that critical February games against DeSales and Delaware Valley will both be at the Anderson Center.

Sophomore Steve Ware has taken a big step forward after appearing in just six games last season. The forward has taken some of the sting out of losing league MVP Ethan Eichhorst to graduation, leading the team in rebounding and ranking second in scoring.

King's (3-4)

The Monarchs happen to have two of the most dangerous shooters in the league, as Matt Fiorino and Kyle Hammonds have both shown the ability to take over a game almost single-handedly this season.

That's a comforting thought for King's. But for the Monarchs to improve in the second half and earn a spot in the conference tournament, it's the supporting cast that will need to come through.

Joe Caffrey has had a promising stint as the starting point guard. Tim O'Shea has been shifted around and has given the team some quality minutes off the bench. Keyton Winder returned to the court Wednesday after missing a handful of games.

Wilkes (0-7)

After a loss to King's last week, Wilkes coach Jerry Rickrode said he had not seen much improvement from his squad since a hard-fought loss to Scranton at the start of January, and that the Colonels had regressed.

Wilkes has just one win since that Scranton game – a non-conference victory against Penn State Wilkes-Barre – and enters the second half of league play in the basement.

Leading scorer Chris Shovlin has missed the last two games with an injury and freshman Alec Wizar has taken his spot in the lineup, scoring 27 points over his two starts.

WOMEN (League record)
King's (6-1)

Winners of nine straight, the Lady Monarchs have yet to lose in 2013. Despite missing a pair of starters to injury, King's is mirroring a run from last season that saw the team win 13 straight to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

Four starting seniors – Lindsay Atchison, Molly Dahl, Katlin Michaels and Celia Rader – have helped give King's some stability through what could have been a rocky stretch.

While the Lady Monarchs will try to run down first-place FDU-Florham, the only Freedom team to beat them thus far, they won't be overlooking third-place DeSales in today's matchup in Center Valley.

Misericordia (3-4)

A four-game conference losing streak means the Cougars have some work to do in the second half to defend their league title from last season. And today brings both a great challenge and a great opportunity.

Misericordia heads on the road to face 17-1 FDU-Florham, a squad that's potentially a win away from cracking the national top-25 ranking.

The Cougars showed they could run just fine with the up-tempo Devils two weeks ago, leading in the second half of their first meeting. The key now for Misericordia is to avoid mental lapses and close out games.

Wilkes (2-5)

The Lady Colonels have also hit a skid in conference play, dropping three in a row.

Though Wilkes has been able to put the same starting five out on the floor the entire season, the team has hit a particularly cold spell of shooting. In those three losses, the Lady Colonels haven't managed to top 50 points or 30 percent from the floor.

Today's matchup against Delaware Valley provides a good chance for a turnaround. The Lady Colonels had their best output in league play all season – 82 points – two weeks ago when they beat the Aggies on the road.




Men's standings




Delaware Valley52117



Women's standings




Delaware Valley16711

Conference schedule

Today's games

Delaware Valley at Wilkes, Noon/2

King's at DeSales, 1/3

Misericordia at FDU-Florham, 1/3

Eastern at Manhattanville, 1/3

Wednesday's games

(Women 6 p.m., Men 8 p.m.)

Misericordia at Wilkes

Eastern at King's

DeSales at Delaware Valley

Manhattanville at FDU-Florham

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