After clinching a berth in the Iowa Conference tournament last Saturday, Simpson will fight for seeding when it heads to Luther to take on the IIAC leading Norse. The game will be telecasted on KCRG 9.2, the third game in Simpson women's basketball history to be featured on the station.
Matchup: Simpson (13-8, 6-4) at Luther (16-5, 8-2)
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 10
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Regents Center - Decorah, Iowa
Last time out
Simpson came back from an early deficit on the wings of 17 points from Mackenzie Haupt and 14 from Katie Ahrenholtz off the bench to knock off Central 67-52 on Saturday, making it 30 straight wins for the Storm against the Dutch. The Storm put together a 13-6 run to close the half with a 41-37 lead, but an 11-0 run at the start of the 4th quarter helped Simpson cruise to the finish. Maddie Bosworth also scored in double-figures with 10 points three assists and five rebounds. Britney Boland grabbed 10 rebounds, her third game with at least 10 boards.
A look at Luther
The Norse lead the Iowa Conference by one game at 8-2 in league play although they are coming off a 81-71 loss to Buena Vista on Saturday. Luther is a perfect 8-0 at home in 2015-16 and owns a 14-game home winning streak dating back to last season. Luther is ranked second in the IIAC in scoring defense at 60.4 ppg, and second in rebounding margin (+2.6) but where they stand out is in creating and preventing turnovers. The Norse generate 20.4 opponents' turnovers per game for a +6.62 turnover margin. Guard Moran Lonning is a big reason why, as she leads the conference with 2.7 steals per game. She is also the team's leading scorer at 12.4 ppg and dishes out a team high 3.9 apg. Kylie Romeo is close behind at 12.0 ppg and is the Norse's biggest outside threat with 51 3s on the year.
The all-time series
Wednesday marks the 77th meeting in a series that dates back to the 1976-77 season. Simpson leads the all-time series 44-32 and is 11-3 against the Norse since 2009. Luther won the first meeting this season, 70-52 in Indianola.
5 STORM STORYLINES
1. "Just win baby"
Simpson's win over Central on Saturday ensured the Storm their 19th straight season at-or-above .500, dating back to 1996-97 when they were 11-14. Head coach Brian Niemuth took over in 1985-86 and has only endured three losing seasons in his 27-year tenure.
2. Simpson's sixth man award
Katie Ahrenholtz has not started one game this year, playing in 20 of the team's 21 games off the bench. Despite her bench role, Ahrenholtz is fourth on the team with 7.8 ppg in only 15.0 mpg. Her scoring average per 40 minutes is second best on the team at 20.9 ppg, second only to Noreen Morrow who has an average of 23.0 points per 40 minutes played.
3. Simpson's shooting streak
You'll have to go way back to find a game in which Simpson didn't make at least one 3-pointer. The Storm women have made at least one 3-pointer in 237 straight games, dating all the way back to a 70-61 win over Albright College on Dec. 28, 2007 when they went 0-of-13 from behind the arc. This season Simpson has averaged 6.3 3s per game and are led by Morgan Mauro who has made 34, nine more than Mackenzie Haupt's 26. Mauro made her 154th 3-pointer of her career against Central on Jan. 27, moving her into sole possession of third place in Simpson's all-time 3-point list.
4. Check your pockets
Expect a lot of steals on Wednesday. Simpson and Luther are tied for second in the Iowa Conference at 9.8 spg, and four of the conference's top five ball thieves will be playing at the Regents Center. Three of the Iowa Conference's top five in steals play for the Storm, led by Mackenzie Haupt who has 2.3 spg, good for second in the conference. She has 48 steals on the season, 18 ahead of previous career high. Whitney Van Wyk is third in the IIAC with 2.0 spg and Maddie Bosworth fifth at 1.9 spg. Luther's Moran Lonning leads the IIAC with 2.7 spg.
5. In among the trees
Senior guard Maddie Bosworth does most of her scoring close to the basket despite being just 5-foot-5. Bosworth is tied for the team-lead in field goals with 87 and is ninth in the conference with a 46.5 shooting percentage. That's especially impressive when you consider the other nine top scorers are at least 5-foot-9 and do most of their scoring around the basket.
Brian Niemuth is in his 29th season as Simpson's head coach, where he is 548-226. He has won 11 IIAC Championships and has led his team to the NCAA Tournament 11 times. The seven-time IIAC Coach of the Year entered the season ranked 10th among active Division III coaches in wins. He is the winningest coach in IIAC history with 333 victories.
Simpson hosts Coe for Senior Day on Saturday, Feb. 13.