WBB Preview: Storm vs. Nebraska Wesleyan, 1.4.2017

Ellen Gallagher (52) and the Storm host Nebraska Wesleyan on Wednesday, Jan. 4.
Ellen Gallagher (52) and the Storm host Nebraska Wesleyan on Wednesday, Jan. 4.

The Simpson women's basketball team tips off 2017 on Wednesday, Jan. 4 when it hosts the Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves at Cowles Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast live on SimpsonAthletics.com. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. with pre-game coverage beginning at 5:45.

All fans will be admitted free of charge as Simpson students are in their final week of the semester break.

Both teams come into Wednesday's matchup looking for their first conference win of the season. The Storm (3-8, 0-2 IIAC) suffered a pair of narrow losses at the D3hoops.com Classic on Dec. 28-29, losing to Lewis & Clark 60-54 and falling to then-No. 23 Puget Sound 77-69 in overtime. The Prairie Wolves (6-4, 0-2 IIAC) have won two in a row after beating MacMurray 90-47 on Dec. 19 and Iowa Wesleyan 64-51 on Dec. 20.

Video: SimpsonAthletics.com
Stats: SimpsonAthletics.com

Simpson—3-8, t-7th IIAC | 66.1 ppg, 150th NCAA | 38.9 rpg, 314th NCAA | 13.6 apg, 138th NCAA
Neb. Wesleyan—6-4, t-7th IIAC | 67.2 ppg, 148th NCAA | 42.0 rpg, 167th NCAA | 13.5 apg, 186th NCAA

Simpson—PTS: Morrow, 16.4 | REB: Morrow, 9.5 | AST: Lankford, 2.6
Nebraska Wesleyan—PTS: Navratil, 12.0 | REB: Wetzel, 8.9 | AST: Nishida, 2.5

1. Despite returning home with a pair of losses from the D3hoops.com Classic, the Storm played two of their best games of the season against tough, Northwest Conference foes. Simpson came back from double-digit deficits to hold second-half leads in losses to Lewis & Clark (9-2 overall, receiving votes in D3hoops.com Top 25) and then-No. 23 Puget Sound (10-1 overall, now ranked 18th in D3hoops.com Top 25). Simpson went into overtime against Puget Sound without the services of leading scorer Noreen Morrow, who missed most of the game with an injury.

2. Simpson and Nebraska Wesleyan are meeting for the 12th time in a series that began in 1983-84 and the first time as members of the Iowa Conference. The Storm lead the series 11-1, suffering their first loss last season, 60-57, in the season-opener on Nov. 13. Simpson won the first 10 meetings in the series by an average of 15.5 points per game.

3. Wednesday's game features two of the top-rebounding posts in the Iowa Conference in Simpson's Noreen Morrow and Nebraska Wesleyan's Addie Wetzel. A 6-2 junior, Morrow averages 9.5 boards a game (second in the IIAC) and is tied for the league-lead with five double-doubles. A 6-2 sophomore, Wetzel brings down 8.9 rebounds per game (third in the IIAC) and is the team's second-leading scorer with 10.9 ppg.

4. Fourth-year head coach Britni Mueller and the Prairie Wolves feature a youthful lineup -- Nebraska Wesleyan starts four sophomores and a freshman and doesn't have a senior on the roster. Freshman guard Caitlin Navratil leads the team with 12 ppg, including a season-high 22 in the win over MacMurray. 

5. At 6-4, the Prairie Wolves have already secured the program's most wins since the 2010-11 season. That year, Nebraska Wesleyan went 11-16 overall. From 2011-16, Nebraska Wesleyan went just 16-109.

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