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Game Time...Northwestern College plays host to Concordia on Saturday, Jan. 11 in a GPAC women's basketball match-up of top 10 teams. The Red Raiders are ranked second with a 16-0 overall record and are currently in first place in the GPAC with an 8-0 record. Concordia is ranked seventh and is 9-1 in the GPAC, 15-3 overall. Saturday's game has also been billed as the NAIA D-II women's basketball game of the week. Watch/listen live to the game via the NWC webcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now! or follow the live stats: Live Stats!
All-Time...While Northwestern is 8-2 over the last 10 match-ups against Concordia, the Red Raiders trail the all-time series 21-28, dating back to the 1987-88 season. Last year, Northwestern went 2-1 against the Bulldogs, earning a home win during the regular season and then also on the road in the GPAC semifinals.
Scouting Concordia...Ranked seventh in the last two NAIA D-II polls, the Bulldogs are in second place in the GPAC with a 9-1 record, 15-3 overall. They have won three straight since losing to 10th-ranked Bethel (Tenn.) (NAIA D-I) 99-92 on Dec. 30, earning victories over Evangel (Mo.), Dordt and Midland. Concordia has also lost to third-ranked Jamestown and #10 Hastings.
Drew Olson is in his eighth season as the head coach and has guided the Bulldogs to the national tournament in five of the last six years. Last year, Concordia began with 15 straight wins before finishing 16-4 in the GPAC, 25-7 overall. They lost in the first round to Cardinal Stritch and finished ninth in the final poll. Four starters and nine players return off that squad.
Concordia is second in the league in scoring, averaging 87 points per game, while also ranking second in field goal percentage (44%) and three-pointers (125). Defensively, they are giving up 74 points per game and own a +1 advantage on the boards.
Bailey Morris leads the Bulldogs in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game coming off the bench. She is second in the GPAC with 72 assists and has 25 three-pointers this season. Senior guard Kristen Conahan, a two-time NAIA All-American, scores 16.2 points per game and is 10th in the NAIA with 50 three-pointers. Tracy Peitz scores 14.3 points per game and is second in the league in field goal percentage (56%). She earned all-conference honors last year. Becky Mueller is scoring 9.1 points per game in her first season at Concordia while Kelsey Hizer averages nearly six points.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders are off to their best start in program history with an 8-0 league record, 16-0 overall. Opening the season ranked seventh in the preseason poll, they have climbed all the way to second in the latest rating, earning five first place votes. Northwestern has eight wins over team ranked (NAIA Division I/II).
Northwestern is the top scoring team in the GPAC, ranking third in the NAIA at 94 points per game. They also lead the conference in field goal percentage (47%), three-point percentage (36%) and three-point percentage defense (27%). The Red Raiders continue to be the top rebounding team in the NAIA, owning a +13 advantage on the boards.
Alli Engebretson leads the GPAC in scoring, pouring in 19 points per game. The senior has scored in double figures in every game this season and also has four double-doubles. Engebretson is shooting 39% from beyond the arc and has made a GPAC-leading 51 three-pointers. Karen Hutson is second in the league in scoring, averaging 18 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Hutson has reached double figures in all but one game and is shooting a GPAC-best 57% from the field. Samantha Kleinsasser scores 16.3 points per game and is third in the GPAC in rebounding (7.7). She leads the GPAC with seven double-doubles this season. Mackenzie Small ranks second on the team with 30 three-pointers and puts in 12.4 points per game.
Up Next...Northwestern will head to Sioux Center, Iowa, to play Dordt on Wednesday night, Jan. 15 at 6pm.