NAIA Game of the Week – No. 6
No. 3 Northwestern (Iowa) (22-3, 14-3 GPAC) at No. 7 Concordia (Neb.) (23-5, 15-3 GPAC)
Saturday, Feb. 15 | 2 p.m. CST | Walz Human Performance Complex | Seward, Neb.
Live Stats | Live Video – Provided by Concordia
• Regular-season title hopes and an automatic berth in the 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship are up for grabs Saturday when No. 7 Concordia (Neb.) welcomes No. 3 Northwestern (Iowa) to the Walz Human Performance Center for a 2 p.m. CST tip off. The Bulldogs, who enter the weekend with a 15-3 record in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC), hold a 0.5-game lead over Northwestern and No. 5 Hastings (Neb.), who are tied for second with 14-3 records in the league.
• Not including Saturday’s Game of the Week, Concordia has one game remaining on its regular season schedule – at No. 8 Morningside (Iowa) on Feb. 22 – while Northwestern has two to play with home games against Dordt (Iowa) on Feb. 19 and Hastings on Feb. 22.
• Concordia’s last conference title came during the 2011-12 season, when the Bulldogs were both the GPAC regular-season and tournament champions, while Northwestern’s last conference crown came in 2010-11.
• Last season, both teams qualified for the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship. It was the second-straight appearance for Concordia, and the Bulldogs 12th appearance all-time. The berth was the eighth-straight for Northwestern, and also the Red Raiders’ 12th all-time appearance. The Red Raiders hold the NAIA Division II women’s basketball record for national championship titles (5) and national championship victories (47).
• In the last 10 meetings, Northwestern holds an 8-2 edge, including an 86-68 victory over the Concordia earlier this season. The Red Raiders have won four-straight in the series.
• In the first meeting of the 2013-14 season, the Red Raiders shot 46.9 percent (30-for-64) from the field, including a 10-for-20 effort from 3-point range, en route to the win. Northwestern also dominated the glass, outrebounding Concordia, 50-35. Guard Alli Engebretson paced the Red Raiders with a season-high 28 points and 11 rebounds.
• Northwestern, which opened the year with 18-straight victories, is 4-3 in its last seven games, including a 97-76 loss at unranked Dakota Wesleyan its last time out on Feb. 12. Conversely, Concordia is riding a season-best seven-game winning streak into the contest.
• The Red Raiders have not lost back-to-back games since the 2011-12 season, when they fell at then-No. 25 Mount Mercy (Iowa), 64-54, and against then-No. 5 Briar Cliff (Iowa), 76-69.
• The Red Raiders are 5-1 against ranked opponents this season, with wins against then-No. 10 Jamestown (N.D.), 96-86 on Nov. 1; then-No. 12 Briar Cliff, 114-81, on Nov. 12; then-No. 3 Morningside, 102-82, on Nov. 26; then-No. 10 Midland, 89-69, on Dec. 14; and then-No. 8 Concordia, 86-68, on Jan. 11.
• Three Red Raiders enter the weekend averaging at least 16 points per game, led by Engebretson’s 18.5 points per game. The Ames, Iowa, native has registered double-digit points in 32 of her last 33 games dating back to last season, including 10 20-plus point performances this year. Engebretson also leads the team in double-doubles with nine and is second in rebounding with 184 (7.4 per game).
• Three of Northwestern’s starting five have at least 1,000 career points – Engebretson (1,197), Samantha Kleinsasser (1,258) and Karen Hutson (1,001)
• As a team, Northwestern ranks among the top 10 nationally in seven statistical categories, including second in scoring offense per game (90.6) and third in field goal percentage (47.2 percent).
• Concordia has four wins against ranked opponents this season: against then-No. 17 Grand View (Iowa), 87-82, on Nov. 2; then-No. 23 College of Saint Mary (Neb.), 96-89, on Nov. 5; then-No. 3 Morningside, 90-82 (OT), on Nov. 16; and then-No. 12 Briar Cliff (Iowa), 80-72, on Nov. 23.
• Guard Bailey Morris leads four Bulldogs in double figures at 18.0 points per game. Since scoring a season-low four points against Midland (Neb.) on Jan. 8, Morris is averaging 21 points per game and is shooting 45.9 percent (62-of-135) from the floor, including a career-best 34-point effort against Dakota Wesleyan on Feb. 8. Morris also leads the team in assists with 102, while ranking second on the squad in steals (65) and free throw percentage (82.1 percent).
• Other Bulldogs averaging double figures are Tracy Peitz (14.0), Kristen Conahan (13.4) and Becky Mueller (10.3).
• As a team, Concordia ranks among the top 10 nationally in total scoring offense (4th; 2,295), total steals (5th; 346), turnover margin (5th; 6.3) and steals per game (12.4).
Additional Notes from Around NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball
(As of Feb. 14, 2014)
• From Feb. 7 – 17, women’s basketball teams across the nation, including programs for both NAIA women’s basketball divisions, will participate in Play4Kay events to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer. The events will support the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a charitable organization named after former North Carolina State women’s basketball coach and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) founding member, Kay Yow. For more information, click here.
• Saint Francis (Ind.) (27-0) is the last remaining unbeaten team.
• Saint Francis leads the NAIA with 27 victories, followed by Davenport (Mich.) with 25.
• Davenport became the first team to officially punch a ticket to the 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, when the Panthers won the outright Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference regular-season title with an 82-57 win against Concordia (Mich.) on Feb. 12. Several other NAIA squads can clinch a spot in the field this weekend.
• Saint Francis continued its reign at No. 1 in the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. This is the seventh-straight No. 1 for the Cougars, who enter the weekend with an NAIA-best 27-0 record. For the complete release, click here.
• Chakala Carthen of College of Idaho was named this week’s NAIA National Division II Women’s Basketball Player of the Week. For the complete release, click here.
• Indiana Wesleyan head coach Steve Brooks earned his 400th career victory when the Wildcats defeated Marian (Ind.), 71-33, on Jan. 4. Brooks has spent 15 years at the helm of the Indiana Wesleyan women’s basketball program and has led the Wildcats to two NAIA Division II National Championships (2007, 2013).
• Huntington (Ind.) head coach Lori Culler picked up her 500th career win when the Foresters defeated Indiana Wesleyan, 51-49, Wednesday night. Culler, who is in her 28th year at Huntington, is currently third on the NAIA’s active career wins list. For the complete release, click here.
• Other Top 25 matchups this week:
o Saturday – No. 12 College of Saint Mary (Neb.) at No. 17 College of the Ozarks (Mo.)