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Game Time...Northwestern College plays host to #3 Concordia on Saturday, Feb. 14, in the final home game of the regular season for the Red Raiders. Tip-off at the Bultman Center is scheduled for 2pm. The Red Raiders have won five of their last six games and are in fifth place in the GPAC with a 10-7 record, 16-9 overall. Concordia has won 21 straight games and brings a 17-1 league record, 26-1 overall, into Saturday's showdown. Watch/listen live to the game via the NWC webcast at this link: Watch/Listen Now! or listen to the game via the KSOU broadcast at this link: Listen Now!
All-Time...Northwestern is 6-4 over the last 10 match-ups but trails the all-time series 23-30 against Concordia.
Last Time vs Concordia...Northwestern suffered a 90-80 road loss to third-ranked Concordia in a GPAC match-up played on Jan. 10 in Seward, Neb.
Karen Ettleman scored a then-career-high 33 points to lead NWC, going 13-for-26 from the field and 7-for-8 from the free throw line. Whitney Vander Maten was the only other Red Raider in double figures with 10.
Both teams held the lead in a very close, competitive first half that featured four ties and seven lead changes. Renee Maneman put Northwestern in front by one (22-21) at the nine-minute mark but Concordia scored the next six points to take the lead. The host Bulldogs extended their lead to as much as 10 just before the break until a basket by Paige O'Neal put NWC down eight, 44-36, at the break.
Still down eight, Northwestern outscored the Bulldogs 12-4 to tie the game at 56 after a jumper by Katy Kuiper with 13 minutes left to go. A pair of free throws by Jericca Pearson put the Bulldogs back in front moments later and the hosts were able to stay ahead for the rest of the game.
Northwestern shot 46% for the game but just 14% (2-for-14) from beyond the arc. They held a 47-39 advantage on the boards, led by Gesell with 10. O'Neal dished out a team-high eight assists to go with five points.
Concordia shot 39% for the game and also struggled from beyond the arc, making 4-for-21 three-point attempts. Bailey Morris scored 24 points to lead the Bulldogs and also dished out 11 assists. Mary Janovich added 16 points and Shelby Quinn put in 14, going 9-for-10 from the free throw line.
Scouting Concordia...Since losing to #1 Morningside at home on Nov. 15, the Bulldogs have won 21 straight games and is in second place in the GPAC with a 17-1 record, 26-1 overall. Concordia has eight wins over ranked teams this season. Most recently, the Bulldogs have wins over Nebraska Wesleyan, Dakota Wesleyan and Midland, defeating the Warriors 105-66 on the road on Wednesday night.
Drew Olson is in his ninth season as the Bulldogs' head coach, becoming the program's winningest coach earlier this season. Olson has guided Concordia to seven national tournaments, including last season where they were upset by Olivet Nazarene in the first round. Concordia ended the season with a 25-8 record and were the GPAC co-regular season champions, along with Northwestern, Hastings and Morningside, with a 16-4 record. Four starters and eight players return from that squad, including two All-Americans.
Concordia leads the GPAC in scoring, ranking fourth in the NAIA, averaging 86 points per game. They rank sixth in the NAIA with 218 three-pointers, making just over eight per game, shooting 30% from beyond the arc. Defensively, Concordia leads the NAIA in steals (483) and are tops in the GPAC in turnovers forced (30 per game).
Bailey Morris, the 2014 GPAC player of the year and NAIA All-American, is among three Concordia players scoring in double figures, averaging 18.2 points per game. Morris leads the GPAC in both assists (134) and steals (119) and ranks seventh with 49 three-pointers. Becky Mueller, an all-conference pick last year, scores 11.2 points per game and is second on the team with 48 three-pointers. Tracy Peitz, also an NAIA All-American last year, averages 11 points and four rebounds per game while shooting nearly 60% from the field.
Northwestern News and Notes...With three games left in the regular season, Northwestern currently sits alone in fifth place in the GPAC with a 10-7 record 16-9 overall. They have won two straight and five of their last six games, moving into the NAIA D-II coaches' poll where they are earning votes. The Red Raiders are two games in back of third place teams, Briar Cliff and Hastings, and own a 1.5 games lead over sixth place Doane.
Northwestern ranks fourth in the GPAC in scoring, averaging 75 points per game, while leading the conference in field goal percentage (45%). Defensively, they are giving up 70 points per game and are fourth in rebounding at +4.
Saturday marks the final home regular season game for the two seniors on this year’s squad: Karen (Hutson) Ettleman and Paige O’Neal. Collectively, this group has been part of Red Raider teams that have compiled a 57-20 record in the GPAC, winning one GPAC regular season and postseason title (2014). They have finished in the top five of the conference each season. These seniors have an overall record of 99-29 and have been part of three national tournaments, winning the championship in 2012, reaching the semifinals in 2013, and finishing in the quarterfinals last year.
Karen Ettleman – 127 games with 92 starts; ranks ninth all-time with 1,675 points (13.2ppg); ranks 21st with 568 career rebounds (4.5), ranks 19th with 297 assists; ranks 11th in steals (196) and 10th in blocks (53); named GPAC player of the week (2x) this season; named WBCA All-American in 2014 and earned all-conference honors in 2013-14; scored in double figures in 75 games with 29 games with 20-or-more points; 3 double-doubles; 2-time NAIA Scholar Athlete; also a three-time All-American in outdoor track and field. “Karen has had an outstanding impact on our basketball program and athletic department at Northwestern College. Her accomplishments on the court are exciting but her desire to impact athletes and students on our campus in a Christ-centered and positive way will have a long-standing impact! Thank you, Karen!”
Paige O’Neal – 99 games, 92 starts; ranks fifth all-time with 443 assists (4.5); closing in on the 400-rebound milestone (372) and has 144 career steals; earned all-conference honors in 2014; named GPAC player of the week earlier this year; scored in double figures in 22 games with three games with 20-or-more points; 5 games with 10-or-more assists; 1 double-double; NAIA Scholar Athlete. “Paige has modeled what it means to play as hard as you can and with the purpose of seeking to serve others! Her toughness and competitiveness continue to establish a bar of expectations for her teammates and for our basketball program. Thank you, Paige!”
Up Next...Northwestern closes the regular season with a pair of road games next week, beginning with a match-up against Dordt on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 6pm.
Senior from Boyden, IA
Senior from St. Peter, MN
Sophomore from Fonda, IA