Game Time...Northwestern College opens its 2013-14 women's basketball season at home tonight against Grace University of Omaha, Neb. Tip-off in the Bultman Center is scheduled for 6pm. Northwestern was ranked seventh in the NAIA Division II women's basketball coaches' poll announced earlier this week and is making its season debut. Grace is 0-1 this season. Watch/listen live to the game via the NWC webcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now! or follow the live stats at the following link: Live Stats!
All-Time...This is the first ever match-up between the two teams.
About Grace...The Royals come into tonight's contest with an 0-1 record, losing to York (Neb.) College last night. Grace is an NCCAA Division II Institution in most sports, except for baseball, but play several NAIA schools, including five teams from the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
Shawn Kliewer begins his fifth season as the Royals head coach and returns one starter and three letterwinners off a 2012-13 team that finished 13-11 overall.
Junior Destiny Gamble is the top scorer returning for Coach Kliewer's club. The 5-3 guard averaged 6.7 points and 2.4 rebounds to go with 47 steals last year. Ashley Roh is also back after scoring 4.8 points and three bounds per game to go with a team-best 68 assists.
Northwestern News and Notes...Making their 2013-14 season debut, Northwestern opens the season ranked seventh in the NAIA preseason poll announced Tuesday, Oct. 29. The Red Raiders, under the direction of head coach Chris Yaw, who begins his third season as the head and 10th as a coach within the program, were picked to finish third in the conference preseason poll and join three other GPAC teams in the top 25 poll; Morningside (3), Concordia (5) and Briar Cliff (14).
Four starters and seven letterwinners return off a 2012-13 squad that finished third in the conference at 15-5 and lost in the national semifinals to Davenport (Mich) to end the year with a 26-8 overall record.
Northwestern averaged 77 points per game in 2012-13, 10th most in the NAIA, while giving up 63 points per game. They were the top shooting team in the NAIA, shooting 48% from the field and 34% from beyond the arc. The Red Raiders also were second in the NAIA in rebound margin (+10).
Alli Engebretson is the top returning scorer from last year's team, averaging 12.9 points per game in 2012-13. The senior ranked seventh in the GPAC with 66 three-pointers, shooting 36% from beyond the arc, and earned all-conference honors. Senior Samantha Kleinsasser averaged 12.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, earning WBCA All-American and all-conference honors. Kleinsasser ranks sixth all-time with 79 blocked shots. Junior Karen Hutson earned all-conference honors after averaging 12.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game last year. Senior Mackenzie Small came off the bench to score seven points and pull down 3.5 rebounds per game. Junior point guard Paige O'Neal led the GPAC with 136 assists and averaged 4.1 points per game. Sophomore Cassidy Breon also returns after averaging 3.3 points per game coming off the bench.
Up Next...Northwestern will head on the road for two games this weekend against ranked teams, 10th-ranked Jamestown and Valley City State, a team earning votes in the initial poll.