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NAIA National Tournament
Game Time...Northwestern College heads to Hastings, Neb. to play the 12th-ranked Broncos on Saturday, Feb. 21 in the final game of the regular season for both teams. Tip-off at the Lynn Farrell Arena is scheduled for 2pm. Northwestern earned votes in this week's NAIA coaches' poll and is in a solid fifth place in the GPAC with an 11-8 record, 17-10 overall. Hastings is in third place in the GPAC with a 14-5 league record, 20-7 overall. Watch/listen live to the game via the Hastings broadcast at this link: Watch/Listen Now! or listen to the game via the KSOU broadcast at this link: Listen Now!
All-Time...This will be the 50th match-up between the two teams with Northwestern trailing the all-time series 21-28. The Red Raiders are 7-3 over their last 10 match-ups against Hastings.
Last Time Out...Northwestern College lost to then-#5 Hastings 81-69 in an early season GPAC match-up played Nov. 15 at the Bultman Center.
Karen Ettleman led the Red Raiders with 27 points before fouling out with just over three minutes remaining. The senior made 11 of her 17 field goal attempts and pulled down four rebounds. Arianne Gesell added 12 points and three boards.
Both teams held the lead early on as they traded baskets for the first 12-plus minutes. Baskets by Renee Maneman and Ettleman put the hosts up four (18-14) but Hastings quickly responded with a 7-2 run and grabbed a 21-20 lead after a three-pointer by Jamie Van Kirk.
Later, with the game tied at 30, Hastings began a 14-2 run behind back-to-back three-pointers by Van Kirk and Abby Jackson. Northwestern closed to within nine by halftime, 45-36.
A pair of free throws by Claudia Larsen put the Red Raiders within striking distance, down just six 57-51 with 12:29 left to play. The Broncos, however, put the game away with a 13-2 run, holding Northwestern without a field goal for nearly seven minutes until a basket by Ettleman with five minutes left to play.
Northwestern shot 46% for the game, 50% in the first half and 41% in the second. The Red Raiders struggled from the perimeter, going 0-for-8 from beyond the arc.
Van Kirk matched Ettleman for game-high honors with 27 points, going 4-for-9 from the three-point arc. Michaela Barry put in 20 points and both Jackson (12) and Shanelle Farmer (10) were also in double figures. Hastings held a slim 39-36 advantage on the boards, led by Rachel Jelden with eight.
Scouting Hastings...The 12th-ranked Broncos are in third place in the GPAC with a 14-5 record, leading Briar Cliff by one game with one game remaining. They also own the tie-break against BCU, having defeated the Chargers both times during the regular season. Hastings has won seven straight heading into the weekend since losing back-to-back games against #3 Concordia and #1 Morningside on Jan. 17 and 21.
Carrie Hofstetter returns for her third season as the head coach of the Broncos, earning GPAC coach of the year honors last season. She led Hastings to the co-regular season title in 2014, along with Northwestern, Morningside and Concordia, and to to the NAIA quarterfinals where they lost to Davenport (Mich.) to end the year at 28-6. Two starters and six players return off last year's squad.
Hastings ranks fifth in the GPAC in scoring, averaging 73 points per game. They are shooting 42% from the field and are in the upper half of the conference in three-point shooting, making 7.3 per game. Defensively, the Broncos are giving up 65 points per game.
Jamie Van Kirk, a first team all-conference pick last year and returning starter, ranks second in the GPAC in scoring, averaging 19 points per game. She ranks 10th in the GPAC with 50 three-pointers and leads the conference in free throw percentage (89%). Michaela Barry scores 12 points per game and leads the team with 59 three-pointers, shooting 36% from beyond the arc. Six players are scoring from 5-6 points per game for the Broncos, including Rachel Jelden who is the Broncos' top rebounder at 6.3 per game.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders have won three of their last four games to secure the #5 spot in the upcoming GPAC tournament that begins next week. Northwestern is 11-8 in conference play and 17-10 overall. They have wins over Doane, Dakota Wesleyan and Dordt around a loss at home to #3 Concordia.
Northwestern is scoring 74 points per game and ranks second in the GPAC in field goal percentage (44%). They are shooting 29% from beyond the arc, making 4.2 three-pointers per game. The Red Raiders are giving up 70 points per game.
Karen Ettleman leads the GPAC in scoring, averaging 21 points per game, sixth best in the NAIA. The senior ranks eighth all-time in career scoring at NWC. Ettleman also leads the team in rebounding (5.9) and steals (50). Paige O'Neal scores 12.4 points per game and leads the GPAC in assists, dishing out five per game. Morgan VanDerSloot is the team's top perimeter threat, draining 34 three-pointers and shooting 35% from beyond the arc.
Up Next...Northwestern will be the #5 seed in the upcoming GPAC postseason tournament and will most likely face #17 Briar Cliff in the quarterfinals on Wednesday night at 6pm.
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Freshman from Fonda, Iowa