Storm open 2018 at home against streaking Luther, Loras

Victoria Hazard
Victoria Hazard

The Simpson women's basketball team opens the new year with a pair of Iowa Conference contests inside Cowles Fieldhouse. The Storm host the Luther Norse on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 6 p.m. and take on the Loras Duhawks on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The Storm (8-4, 2-1) are off to their best start in five years after splitting a pair of games at the Daytona Beach Shootout in December, losing to Lebanon Valley 76-75 and edging Carthage 64-60. The Norse (9-5, 3-0) sit atop the IIAC standings and have won four in a row while the Duhawks (8-4, 0-3) have won five straight.

Todd Guessford will have the call for the video stream of both games on SimpsonAthletics.com. Pre-game begins at 5:45 on Wednesday and 1:45 on Saturday. Andrew Swadner and Rick Wilson will have the call for Saturday's game on KNIA 1320 AM/95.3 FM and online at KNIAKRLS.com.

THIS WEEK
Luther (9-5, 3-0) at Simpson (8-4, 2-1)
Wednesday, Jan. 3 — 6 p.m.
Cowles Fieldhouse — Indianola, Iowa
Live Video | Live Stats

Loras (8-4, 0-3) at Simpson (8-4, 2-1)
Saturday, Jan. 6 — 2 p.m.
Cowles Fieldhouse — Indianola, Iowa
Live Video | Live Stats

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
1 — The Storm split their two games in Daytona Beach, losing to Lebanon Valley 76-75 on Wednesday, Dec. 20 and beating Carthage 64-60 on Thursday, Dec. 21. Noreen Morrow scored 14 points in the loss to Lebanon Valley and posted a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double in the win over Carthage.

2 — Simpson is among the nation's best in team field goal percentage while a pair of individuals are also among the nation's best. The Storm's 46.1 shooting percentage currently ranks 10th in Division III. Individually, Noreen Morrow is eighth in the country (60.7) in field goal percentage and Janey Botkins is 30th in 3-point percentage (44.3).

3 — In Simpson's 72-64 win over Wis.-Eau Claire, the Storm shot 50 percent from the field, marking the fifth time this season the team has shot 50 percent-or-better. Simpson shot 50 percent in just two games in all of 2016-17.

4 — Despite getting out to a great start to the season, Simpson's 8-4 record could be even better if not for a slew of narrow defeats. The Storm's four losses in 2017-18 have come by a combined nine points. The Storm dropped the season-opener to Wis.-Stevens Point 69-66, fell to Saint Benedict 66-63, lost to Dubuque 88-86 and fell to Lebanon Valley 76-75.

5 — Noreen Morrow continues to close in on the 1,000-point milestone. The senior comes into the week with 915 career points as she looks to become just the 16th player in school history to reach the mark. Having already surpassed 500 career rebounds, Morrow would become just the seventh player with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

SERIES NOTES
Luther — Simpson and Luther meet for the 80th time in a series that dates back to the 1976-77 season … Simpson leads the all-time series 44-35 but has lost five in a row to the Norse, their longest losing streak in the history of the series ... Luther won both contests last season, rolling to a 102-66 win in Decorah on Dec. 7 and beating the Storm 68-61 in Indianola in the season finale on Feb. 15 … the Storm are 28-12 against the Norse in Cowles Fieldhouse.

Loras — Simpson and Loras meet for the 70th time in a series that dates back to the 1986-87 season … Simpson leads the all-time series 45-24 but Loras has won three in a row and seven of the last eight … last season Loras beat Simpson 71-66 on Jan. 7 in Dubuque and 80-63 on Jan. 25 in Indianola … the Storm are 25-8 against the Duhawks in Cowles Fieldhouse.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Luther — Led by seventh-year head coach Amanda Bailey, the Norse enter Wednesday's game riding a four-game winning streak and sit atop the IIAC standings with a 3-0 mark in league play thanks to double-digit wins over Central, Loras and Coe. Most recently Luther took two games at Wisconsin Dells, beating Lake Forest 71-53 on Dec. 29 and Wis.-La Crosse 74-69 on Dec. 30. The Norse are led by 5-10 junior forward Claire Marburger, who ranks third in the league in scoring (15.9 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (7.1 rpg).

Loras — Led by 11th-year head coach Justin Heinzen, the Duhawks enter Wednesday's game against Dubuque riding a five-game winning streak. Most recently, Loras beat Elmhurst 75-71 on the road on Dec. 30 to improve to 8-4 on the year. But the Duhawks are still in search of their first IIAC win, going 0-3 with double-digit setbacks to Coe, Luther and Wartburg. Senior guard Addie Oberman leads the team in scoring (12.7 ppg) and leads the IIAC with a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio.

WATCH THE STORM IN HD
Storm video streaming has gone high-definition! A new addition in the spring of 2017, Storm basketball fans can experience all home games in HD for the first time this season. Veteran broadcaster Todd Guessford calls all of the action, including pre-game and post-game shows with coach and player interviews.

ON THE AIR
Back again this season, Simpson's Saturday Iowa Conference basketball games can be heard on KNIA 1320 AM/95.3 FM and online at KNIAKRLS.com. You can also download the KNIA app on iTunes and Google's Play Store. Andrew Swadner will have the call with Rick Wilson providing the color commentary.

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