Weekend Preview: Schedule packed with crucial games and meets

Christine McCall '11 and the Bates women's basketball team will try to claw their way to a second straight win at Bowdoin in Saturday's NESCAC Quarterfinals.

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates men's and women's basketball teams begin their hunt for a NESCAC championship on Saturday, as both teams compete in their respective conference quarterfinals.

The men's basketball team's opponent, Amherst, didn't win either of the tournament's top two seeds, but that's little consolation when the opponent is 21-2 and ranked No. 8 in the country. Still, Bates (12-12) has a history of near misses in the NESCAC tournament against the perennial heavyweight Lord Jeffs, most recently a 72-68 eighth-seeded Bates loss at top-seeded Amherst in 2007. And in the teams' regular-season matchup, the Bobcats gave the Jeffs all they could handle in a 74-68 loss. Follow the action live via Live Stats and Video Webcast.

The women's basketball team (17-7) will play at familiar foe Bowdoin at 3 p.m. on Saturday in a rubber match of sorts, in the teams' sixth meeting in the 11-year history of the NESCAC Championship tournament. The road team has won both of the first two games between the rivals: Bowdoin defeated Bates in their non-conference game on Jan. 11, but the Bobcats pasted the Polar Bears 77-56 on Jan. 22 in Brunswick, Bowdoin's worst home loss in more than a decade. The Polar Bears haven't lost a game since. The balanced Bobcats rank fourth in Division III in assists per game (19.1) and eighth in three-point shooting percentage (.380). The game can be followed live via Live Stats and Video Webcast.

The Bates women's squash team has earned the 12th seed in this weekend's College Squash Association Team Nationals, to be held at Princeton University Friday through Sunday. The Bobcats (13-10) will compete for the Kurtz Cup, the "B" Division for national seeds 9 through 16, and match up with 13th-seeded Amherst in the first round on Friday at 12:30 p.m., for the teams' third meeting of the season. Bates took 11th place at nationals last season. See a more detailed preview here.

The women's swimming and diving team's 2010-11 season hits its apex this weekend at the NESCAC Women's Championships, taking place at Williams College. At last year's NESCACs, the Bates women had their best showing in seven years by placing seventh. A strong crop of first-year swimmers, along with veteran stalwarts like senior Charlotte Green and junior Kara Leasure, will look to maintain the same kind of progress this year. The meet can be followed live via Live Stats and Video Webcast. CollegeSwimming.com is also live blogging all six sessions.

The indoor track and field season also hits the crucial stage this weekend with the New England Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships, held Friday and Saturday at Springfield for the No. 16 nationally ranked men's team, and at MIT for the women's team. The women have placed sixth for three years in a row. The men's team hosted last year and placed seventh.

The penultimate winter carnival of the alpine and Nordic ski season takes place at Middlebury this weekend, with alpine events at the Middlebury Snow Bowl and Nordic events at Rikert Touring Center in Ripton, Vt. Bates hosts the NCAA East Regionals next weekend, Feb. 26-27, at its two home sites: Sunday River (alpine) and Black Mountain (Nordic).

GET THE LATEST SCORES: Find Bates athletics scores (almost) as soon as they're final, now from the College's home page, olle-test.bates.edu. Just scroll down and click the "Scores" tab in the center of the page. Stories about each result are still posted as soon as possible on the Athletics page at olle-test.bates.edu/sports.xml, under "Latest News".