NAIA Game of the Week – No. 7
No. 15 Siena Heights (Mich.) (23-6, 16-5 WHAC) at No. 2 Davenport (Mich.) (27-1, 20-1 WHAC)
Saturday, Feb. 22 | 1 p.m. EST | DU Student Center | Grand Rapids, Mich.
Live Stats | Live Video – Provided by Davenport
• A pair of top 15 teams out of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) do battle Saturday when No. 2 Davenport (Mich.) hosts No. 15 Siena Heights (Mich.) in both side’s regular-season finale. Siena Heights is currently in second-place in the league with a 16-5 record, one-game ahead of third-place and No. 25 Cornerstone (Mich.).
• 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 – their eighth-straight – with an 82-57 win against Concordia (Mich.) on Feb. 12.
• Saturday’s contest is the second of two regular-season meetings between the Top 25 teams. On Dec. 4, Davenport scored 20 of the game’s final 26 points to overcome a late deficit and win 55-51. The loss was the second in the three-game losing streak for Siena Heights.
• With a Wednesday night win against Michigan-Dearborn, the Panthers, who have won 22-straight overall, set a new program record by having won 34-consecutive home games. Davenport’s last loss at the DU Student Center came against Madonna (Mich.), 71-64, on Feb. 8, 2012.
• Since opening the season 5-5, Siena Heights has won 18 of its last 19 games, including two victories against ranked teams – then-No. 10 Midland (Neb.) on Dec. 29 and then-No. 13 Aquinas (Mich.) on Jan. 15. The Saints lone loss came at Cornerstone, 74-69, on Jan. 22.
• Davenport holds a dominant 17-1 record in the all-time series, including a current run of 14-straight victories. Siena Heights’ lone victory against the Panthers came in Grand Rapids on Jan. 10, 2007, 77-71.
• With its previously mentioned regular season conference title, Davenport will make its 10th all-time appearance at the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship. The Panthers own a 13-9 record at the event, including runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2013. Siena Heights made its first-ever trip to the national championship last season. The Saints fell in the first round to Briar Cliff (Iowa), 94-77.
• The Panthers showcase arguably one of the most balanced teams in NAIA Division II, ranking among the top 10 in 15 statistical categories. Defensively, Davenport is second nationally in turnover margin (+7.4), third steals (14.4 per game), sixth in scoring defense per game (58.1) and ninth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.270). On the offensive side, the Panthers are third in scoring margin (26.0), sixth in offensive rebounds per game (16.2) and eighth in assists per game (18.5) and field goal percentage offense (.457).
• Forward Tiesha Stokes leads the team in scoring (14.3 points per game), field goal percentage (.668) and steals (78), while tying for the team lead in rebounds (186) and ranking second in blocked shots (23). Stokes’ highlight performance of the season came against Concordia (Mich.) on Feb. 12, as the Grand Rapids, Mich., native tallied a season-high 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting. She also recorded 10 rebounds, four steals and two assists in the game.
• The Panthers enter Saturday 3-0 against ranked opponents with wins against then-No. 15 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.), 64-60, on Nov. 9; then-No. 18 Aquinas (Mich.), 59-49, on Jan. 4 and then-No. 25 Cornerstone (Mich.), 83-59, on Jan. 25.
• Siena Heights predicates itself on its defense, ranking second in the NAIA in field goal percentage defense (.336) and fifth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.264) and scoring defense per game (58.0). The Saints have held their opponent under 55 points 12 times this season.
• Sierra Calhoun is the team’s primary scoring threat. In 29 starts, the junior guard is averaging 14.6 points per game on 52.4 percent (161-of-307) shooting from the field. Calhoun has scored double figures in nine-straight games en route to 25 double-digit performances on the season.
• Siena Heights is 3-3 against ranked teams this year, with its marque victory coming against then-No. 9 Saint Xavier (Ill.), 84-67, on Nov. 30.
Additional Notes from Around NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball
(Through games played on Feb. 19, 2014)
• Saint Francis (Ind.) (29-0) is the last remaining unbeaten team.
• Saint Francis leads the NAIA with 29 victories, followed by Davenport (Mich.) with 27.
• Davenport, Saint Francis, Southwestern (Kan.) and Tennessee Wesleyan have officially punched a ticket to the 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship after winning their respective conference regular-season titles.
• Saint Francis continued its reign at No. 1 in the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. This is the eighth-straight No. 1 for the Cougars, who enter the weekend with an NAIA-best 29-0 record. For the complete release, click here.
• Bailey Morris of Concordia (Neb.) 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 Wednesday – No. 1 Saint Francis (Ind.) def. No. 20 Huntington (Ind.), 62-53
o Wednesday – No. 17 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) def. No. 24 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), 106-92
o Saturday – No. 6 Concordia (Neb.) at No. 7 Morningside (Iowa)