No. 7 Concordia at No. 2 Northwestern tabbed as NAIA Game of Week

No. 7 Concordia at No. 2 Northwestern tabbed as NAIA Game of Week

SEWARD, Neb. – The NAIA national office has named Saturday's big game between No. 7 Concordia and No. 2 Northwestern as the "NAIA DII Women's Basketball Game of the Week." View game notes from the NAIA below and at this link.

Both teams enter the weekend tilt in Orange City, Iowa, on a hot streak. The Bulldogs (15-3, 9-1 GPAC) have won seven-consecutive GPAC games and are just one-game (in the loss column) behind the undefeated Red Raiders (16-0, 8-0 GPAC). Northwestern has won each of its 16 games by nine points or more.

Concordia may need to turn to its role players to fill the shoes of several key players. Junior forward Jericca Pearson left the team's Dec. 30 game with an injury and has not returned to the lineup. The injury bug struck again in Wednesday's win at Midland as backcourt stars Kristen Conahan and Bailey Morris both exited the contest early.

Eighth-year head coach Drew Olson will count on junior Tracy Peitz to lead the team down the stretch. She had a huge night on Wednesday with career highs in points (26) and rebounds (12). She ranks first in the GPAC in steals (3.22 per game), second in field goal percentage (.562) and 13th in scoring (14.3).

Northwestern and head coach Chris Yaw graduated top player Kendra De Jong (two-time GPAC Player of the Year), but it hasn't seemed to matter. The Red Raiders have plenty of firepower with the likes of Alli Engebretson (18.9 ppg), Karen Hutson (17.9 ppg), Samantha Kleinsasser (16.3 ppg) and Mackenzie Small (12.4 ppg) all averaging more than a dozen points.

How they compare

Concordia   Northwestern
86.7 (7th) OFF PPG 93.7 (3rd)
74.2 (104th) DEF PPG 68.1 (57th)
.442 (17th) OFF FG% .473 (3rd)
.431 (117th) DEF FG% .369 (29th)
.314 (55th) 3PT FG% .359 (6th)
6.9 (25th) 3PT FG/GM 6.5 (35th)
.730 (20th) FT% .754 (7th)
+1.3 (53rd) REB +/- +12.4 (1st)
+7.4 (3rd) TO +/- +4.8 (15th)
+12.6 (20th) Scoring +/- +25.6 (3rd)
12.8 (7th) SPG 11.8 (11th)
1.6 (98th) BPG 2.1 (74th)
.996 (22nd) AST/TO 1.12 (9th)

Notes from the NAIA release

By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern

*Published Jan. 8 by the NAIA (click HERE)

• The two top-rated teams from arguably the deepest conference in NAIA DII Women’s Basketball will face off Saturday, when No. 2 Northwestern (Iowa) hosts No. 7 Concordia (Neb.) at 2 p.m. CST in Orange City, Iowa. The clubs enter the week as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams, respectively, in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC), which leads all conferences and independents with five teams ranked among the Top 25 nationally. 
• Prior to this weekend’s matchup, both teams will face off against another GPAC foe. Concordia will travel to Midland (Neb.) on Jan. 8, while Northwestern plays host to Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) that same evening. 
• Saturday’s contest is the first of two regular-season meetings between the Top 25 teams, with the second coming on Feb. 15 on Concordia’s home floor in Seward, Neb. 
• With 93 points and five first-place votes, Concordia was picked to win the 2013-14 GPAC Championship in the league’s preseason coaches’ poll. Defending GPAC regular-season and tournament champion Morningside (Iowa) also compiled 93 points, but had just four first-place votes. Northwestern, with 84 points and two first-place votes, was picked to finish third. 
• Concordia’s last conference title came during the 2011-12 season, when the Bulldogs were both the regular-season and tournament champions. Northwestern’s last conference title came in 2010-11, when the Red Raiders were the regular-season and tournament champions. 
• 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. 
• 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.  
• The Bulldogs’ three losses have all been by seven points-or-less and have come at the hands of then-No. 10 Jamestown (N.D.), Hastings (Neb.) and then-NAIA Division I No. 10 Bethel (Tenn.). All three teams are currently ranked in their respective polls. 
• Concordia features four individuals averaging double-digit points per game, led by Bailey Morris’ 17.2 points per game. Despite starting just seven games this season, Morris has played starter’s minutes, averaging 28.4 minutes per game—second only to two-time All-America selection Kristen Conahan (29.1 minutes per game). On the year, Morris has more 20-point performances (6) than single-digit outputs (2). 
• Conahan (17.0), Tracy Peitz (13.6) and Jericca Pearson (12.1) are the other three Bulldogs averaging double-digits this season. 
• As a team, Concordia is third in the NAIA in total scoring offense (1479), while also ranking among the top 10 nationally in turnover margin (3rd, 7.47), total steals (4th, 223), scoring offense per game (7th, 87.00) and steals per game (7th, 13.12).  
• Northwestern is 4-0 against ranked opponents this season, with wins against then-No. 10 Jamestown, 96-86, on Nov. 1; then-No. 12 Briar Cliff, 114-81, on Nov. 12; then-No. 3 Morningside, 102-82, on Nov. 26; and then-No. 10 Midland, 89-69, on Dec. 14.
• The Red Raiders feature four individuals who average double-digit points per game, led by Alli Engebretson’s 19.3 points per game. Engebretson has started all 15 games for Northwestern this season and has reached double-digit points in every contest. She recorded a career-high 24 points on Nov. 12 against Briar Cliff and matched that mark in games against Hastings on Nov. 16 and Grand View on Jan. 3. 
• Karen Hutson (18.4), Samantha Kleinsasser (15.8) and Mackenzie Small (11.9) are also averaging double-digits for the Red Raiders this season. 
• As a team, Northwestern leads the NAIA in total rebound margin (13.07), while ranking among the top 10 nationally in scoring margin (2nd, 26.67), scoring offense per game (3rd, 94.27), 3-point field goal percentage (4th, .369), field goal percentage (4th, .478), total rebound defense (6th, 33.20), total assists (6th, 301), defensive rebounds per game (8th, 31.00), total rebounds per game (8th,. 46.27), assist to turnover ratio (8th, 1.14) free throw percentage (9th, .751), total scoring offense (9th, 1414), total steals (10th, 183) and steals per game (10th, 12.20). 

9 January 2014

As featured on the NAIA website, No. 7 Concordia at No. 2 Northwestern has been named the NAIA DII Women's Basketball Game of the Week.

Live Links for Saturday's game

Live Stats | Live Audio | Live Video