Schedule note: Senior Day
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NAIA National Tournament
Game Time...Ninth-ranked Northwestern plays host to #4 Hastings in the final game of the regular season. The Red Raiders are tied with Morningside for third in the GPAC with a 15-4 record, 23-4 overall. Hastings is tied with #7 Concordia for first first place in the conference, just one game ahead with a 16-3 league record, 25-3 overall. Saturday's game is also senior and parent's day, recognizing the five seniors from this year's team; Alli Engebretson, Samantha Kleinsasser, Mackenzie Small, Jada Vander Veen and Jenni Vander Veen. All of the parents of the players will also be recognized. Watch/listen live to the game via the NWC webcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now! or follow the live stats here: Live Stats!
All-Time...Despite winning 7 of the last 10 match-ups against Hastings, Northwestern trails the all-time series 20-27.
Last Time vs Hastings...Northwestern defeated Hastings 99-83 in an early season GPAC match-up played on Nov. 16 in Hastings, Neb.
The lead switched hands five times in a high scoring first half that ended with Northwestern leading 48-43. The Red Raiders pushed the lead out to eight early in the second half only to have Hastings make it a one-point game (64-63) with 11 minutes left to go. Northwestern opened up its largest lead (75-65) after an 11-2 run but Hastings came storming back once again, tying the game at 79 with five minutes left. Northwestern, however, closed the game on a 20-4 run to pull away and get the win.
Northwestern shot 53% for the game and 47% from beyond the arc, making 7-of-15 three-point attempts. Alli Engebretson was among five Red Raider players in double figures, netting a game-high 24 points. Karen Hutson poured in 21 and Mackenzie Small (16) and Samantha Kleinsasser (11) were the other top scorers. Northwestern held a 37-29 edge on the boards.
Hastings shot 37% for the game but struggled from the three-point arc, shooting 12% from the perimeter. Laurel Zwiener led the Broncos with 20 points and Cami Bruckman added 16.
Scouting the Broncos...Ranked fourth in the NAIA, Hastings comes into Saturday's game tied with Concordia for first place in the GPAC at 16-3, 25-3 overall. With a win over Northwestern, the Broncos clinch the top seed in the eight-team conference tournament next week. Earlier this season, Hastings won 15 straight games and its only losses are to Northwestern, Morningside and Doane.
Carrie Hofstetter begins her second season as the Broncos head coach and returns three starters and nine players off a 2012-13 squad that finished tied for sixth in the GPAC at 10-10, 15-16 overall. They lost to top-seed Morningside in the GPAC quarterfinals to end the season. Hofstetter was a standout player for the Broncos and also served as an assistant coach at Fort Hayes State.
The Broncos are fifth in the GPAC in scoring (78.5) and are shooting 42% from the field and 30% from beyond the arc. They are one of the top defensive teams, giving up 68 points per game, and are fourth in rebounding (+4).
Junior Jamie Van Kirk is the Broncos leading scorer, averaging 18.2 points per game, third best in the conference. She ranks near the top of the conference in every shooting statistic, ranking seventh with a team-best 52 three-pointers and leading the conference in free throw percentage (85%). Senior Cami Bruckman, a returning starter and two-time all-conference player, scores 15.8 points per game. Junior Laurel Zwiener, another returning starter, averages 14.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game to go with a GPAC-best 52 blocked shots.
Northwestern News and Notes...Northwestern is tied with Morningside for third place in the conference standings with a 15-4 record, trailing both Hastings and Concordia by just one game with one left to play. The Red Raiders' four losses are to Mount Marty, Morningside, Dakota Wesleyan and Concordia.
Northwestern continues to be the top scoring team in the GPAC, pouring in 91 points per game, second most in the NAIA. They lead the GPAC in field goal percentage (47%), three-point percentage (36%) and free throw percentage (75%) while also being the top rebounding team in the GPAC at +10.
Three Red Raider players are among the top five point scorers in the GPAC, led by Alli Engebretson at 18.6 points per game. The senior ranks second in the league with 81 three-pointers and is third in the GPAC in rebounding (7.5). Karen Hutson ranks fourth in the league in scoring (17) while owning top field goal percentage in the conference (55%). Samantha Kleinsasser is fifth in the GPAC in scoring (15.9) and fourth in rebounding (7.3), shooting better than 50% from the field. Mackenzie Small also scores in double figures at 12.7 points per game while ranking second on the team with 48 three-pointers.
Saturday marks the final home regular season game for five seniors on the 2013-14 team: Alli Engebretson, Samantha Kleinsasser, Mackenzie Small, Jada Vander Veen, and Jenni Vander Veen. Collectively, this group has been part of Red Raider teams that have compiled a 64-13 GPAC record, 112-20 overall. These seniors have been part of two national championship teams (2011 and 2012) and another that reached the national semifinals, one GPAC regular season title (2011) and one GPAC postseason title (2011).
Alli Engebretson – 117 games with 91 starts; ranks 18th with 1,238 points (10.6ppg); ranks 26th with 508 career rebounds (4.3), ranks 17th with 294 assists; made 183 career three-pointers, shooting 37% from the three-point arc; earned all-conference honors in 2013; scored in double figures in 56 games with 14 games with 20-or-more points; 10 double-doubles. “In addition to all that Alli has accomplished on the court, she has modeled a goal of our program to always play hard and have fun. Alli’s impact on our campus and on our basketball program is one of faith, fun, and relationships! Thanks for the many ways in which you lead and are a blessing to so many at NWC.”
Samantha Kleinsasser – 132 games, 62 starts; ranks 17th with 1,284 points (9.7ppg); is 14th with 679 career rebounds (5.1); has 142 assists (1.1); ranks fifth with 122 career blocks; has shot 51% from the field for her career; WBCA Honorable Mention All-American and all-conference in 2013; 2-time NAIA Scholar Athlete; named the 2014 CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year; earned the NAIA’s Emil S. Liston Award as a junior; named second team CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2013; scored in double figures in 63 games with 12 games with 20-or-more points; 10 double-doubles. “Congrats to Sam on all that she has accomplished. As our program seeks to Pursue Excellence with Humility, Sam has certainly not taken a backseat to living out this theme. She is bold in her faith and desire to serve, while exemplifying a humble spirit. Thank you for your leadership in faith, character, and service at NWC and in our basketball program.”
Mackenzie Small – 132 games, 34 starts; scored 906 points (6.9ppg); ranks 36th with 438 career rebounds (3.3); is 19th with 263 career assists (2.0); tied for 10th with 192 career steals; made 72 three-pointers, shooting 37% from beyond the arc; scored in double figures in 29 games with five games with 20-or-more points; 2 double-doubles. “Kenzie’s passion for life and to serve others continues to have a tremendous impact on people on our campus and in our basketball program. Her ability to see the best in others and to celebrate the joy of the journey is both motivating and special! Thank you for who you are and for always seeking to bless those around you.”
Jada Vander Veen – “Thank you for your unwavering commitment to NWC and to our basketball program. Jada has faithfully sought to make a difference in the lives of those around her. It is inspiring to observe her embrace the different roles she has had in our program with the purpose of serving others and to do so with a humble spirit. Thanks Jada!”
Jenni Vander Veen – “Thank you for your efforts to serve your teammates. Though most of Jenni’s contributions to our team are made “behind the scenes,” her commitment and love expressed to her teammates is bold and sincere. Jenni truly has a servant’s heart! Thank you for all the ways you have served NWC women’s basketball!!
Up Next...This concludes the regular season for the Red Raiders. The 8-team postseason conference tournament will begin next week with the four quarterfinal contests on Wednesday night. The Red Raiders will host at 7pm. Pairings will be announced on Saturday night by the GPAC office.
# 20 | Guard
Senior from Hinton, Iowa
# 24 | Post
Senior from Huron, S.D.
# 15 | Guard
Senior from Ames, Iowa
# 14 | Guard
Junior from Logan, Iowa