WBB Preview: Simpson begins conference play with Buena Vista, Nebraska Wesleyan

From left: Claire Johnson and Kali Rasmussen
From left: Claire Johnson and Kali Rasmussen

The Simpson women's basketball team opens Iowa Conference play this week with a home and road split. The Storm host the Buena Vista Beavers at Cowles Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Nov. 29 before going to Lincoln, Neb. to face the Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves on Saturday, Dec. 2.

Todd Guessford will have the call Wednesday on SimpsonAthletics.com. Pre-game begins at 5:45. 

THIS WEEK

Wednesday, Nov. 29 — Simpson (3-2) vs. Buena Vista (3-3)
Indianola, Iowa | Cowles Fieldhouse | 6 p.m.
Live Video (SimpsonAthletics.com) | Live Stats (SimpsonAthletics.com)

Saturday, Dec. 2 — Simpson (3-2) at Nebraska Wesleyan (4-0)
Lincoln, Neb. | Snyder Arena | 2 p.m.
Live Video (NWUSports.com)| Live Audio (KNIA) | Live Stats (NWUSports.com)

SERIES NOTES

  • Simpson and Buena Vista are meeting for the 81st time in a series that began in 1976-77. Simpson leads the all-time series 49-31 and is 29-10 against Buena Vista at home. The teams split last season's meetings with each defending the home floor. Buena Vista won 64-54 on Jan. 23 in Storm Lake and Simpson won 81-68 on Feb. 1 in Indianola.
  • Simpson and Nebraska Wesleyan are meeting for the 14th time in a series that began in 1983-84. Simpson leads the all-time series 11-2, with both losses coming in the last two seasons. The teams split last season's meetings as the Storm won 65-62 on Jan. 4 in Indianola and the Prairie Wolves won 94-71 on Feb. 4 in Lincoln.

OPENING TIP

  • Simpson (3-2) begins Iowa Conference play after going 1-1 at its own Thanksgiving Classic last weekend, beating Iowa Wesleyan 82-52 on Friday, Nov. 24 and dropping a narrow 66-63 decision to unbeaten Saint Benedict on Saturday, Nov. 25. Ellen Gallagher, Noreen Morrow and Victoria Hazard were named to the all-tournament team.
  • The Storm are off to their best five-game start since 2014-15. Simpson went 2-3 to begin the 2015-16 season and got off to a 1-4 start last season.
  • Simpson is just a few plays away from being 5-0, as the Storm's losses have been by a combined six points. Simpson lost to Wis.-Stevens Point 69-66 in the season opener and fell to Saint Benedict 66-63 on Saturday. Stevens Point and Saint Benedict have a combined record of 8-1 on the year. 
  • Simpson goes into Wednesday's game looking for win No. 700 in program history. Simpson is 699 and 360 in 44 seasons of competition. The team first played varsity contests in 1974-75, going 0-4. The program's first win came in the 1975-76 season opener, an 80-69 win over Mt. Mercy.
  • Noreen Morrow earned Iowa Conference Female Athlete and Women's Basketball Player of the Week honors for the period ending Sunday, Nov. 26 after averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds in three games last week. Morrow is the first Storm player since the 2013-14 season to earn Player of the Week honors. Morgan Terpstra took home the honor on Jan. 28, 2014.
  • Simpson is looking to snap a four-game losing streak in conference openers. The last time the Storm won their first game of the conference season was in 2012-13, the program's last conference championship.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS

  • Buena Vista is 3-3 overall after a split at the Simpson Thanksgiving Classic, losing to unbeaten Saint Benedict 73-63 on Friday, Nov. 24 and beating Iowa Wesleyan 79-54 on Saturday, Nov. 25. Post player Claudia Larsen is averaging 14 points and nine rebounds to go along with a league-high 3.5 blocks to lead the Beavers. Coach Janet Berry's team has four starters averaging double figures in scoring.
  • Nebraska Wesleyan and first-year head coach Sam Dixon are off to a 4-0 start, the program's best since 2010-11. The Prairie Wolves are outscoring opponents by an average of 31 points and are +11 in turnover margin. Caitlin Navratil leads the team with 12.5 ppg while Addie Wetzel is averaging a near double-double with 9.8 points and 13.3 rebounds per contest.
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