The Simpson women's basketball team hits the road this week for a pair of Iowa Conference contests, going to Luther on Wednesday evening and to No, 2 Wartburg on Saturday afternoon.
Wednesday's tipoff is set for 6 p.m. in Decorah and will be video streamed on Luther.edu. Saturday's game in Waverly will start at 2 p.m. and will be video streamed on Knight Vision. Andrew Swadner and Rick Wilson will describe the action on KNIA 1320 AM/95.3 FM and online at KNIAKRLS.com.
The Storm (12-8, 6-5) suffered an 85-84 setback against Nebraska Wesleyan on Saturday despite 18 points apiece from Noreen Morrow and Janey Botkins. Simpson began the week with an 85-65 win over Dubuque on Wednesday, getting 23 points from Jenna Taylor.
The Norse (13-8, 7-3) beat Nebraska Wesleyan 100-68 on Saturday while the Knights (19-0, 10-0) cruised to a 96-51 win against Dubuque.
Simpson (6-5) begins the week with a one-game lead over Buena Vista (5-6) for fourth place in the IIAC standings. Luther (7-3) owns a one-and-a-half game lead on the Storm for third.
Game #21: at Luther (13-8, 7-3)
Wednesday, Jan. 31 — 6 p.m.
Regents Center — Decorah, Iowa
Live Video/Live Stats
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
1 — Sharing is Caring: Simpson is among the best in the nation when it comes to distributing the basketball. The Storm rank 13th in Division III with 18.3 assists per game, second most in the IIAC. Simpson assists on 65.8 percent of its made field goals this season, a number that has increased to 72.3 percent in the past four games.
2 — Sharpshooters: Simpson cracked the national top 10 rankings in shooting percentage, jumping four spots to seventh (46.2). Individually, Noreen Morrow ranks ninth in the country in field goal percentage (59.5) and Janey Botkins ranks 10th in 3-point percentage (45.2).
3 — Sharpshooters, continued: The Storm snapped a streak of four-straight games shooting under 50 percent by surpassing the mark twice last week. Simpson shot 54.2 percent in the win over Dubuque and 58.2 percent against Nebraska Wesleyan, reaching the mark for the eighth time this season. Simpson shot 50 percent just twice all of last season.
4 — Distribution Duo: For the first time in seven years, two Simpson players have handed out 70-or-more assists in a season. Freshman Victoria Hazard (72) and sophomore Claire Johnson (71) each went over 70 assists Saturday, making them the first Simpson duo to reach the mark since Darrina Bledsoe (88) and Kelsie Reeves (82) in 2010-11.
5 — Shooting for 100: With six 3-pointers in Saturday's game against Nebraska Wesleyan, sophomore guard Janey Botkins moved into fifth on Simpson's all-time list with 97 career 3s. She needs just three to become the fifth player in school history with 100 career long balls.
Luther — Simpson and Luther meet for the 81st time in a series that dates back to the 1976-77 season … Simpson leads the all-time series 45-35 … the Storm beat Luther 78-73 on Jan. 3, snapping a six-game losing streak in the series … Simpson is 13-23 on the road in the series.
Wartburg — Simpson and Wartburg meet for the 86th time in a series that dates back to the 1976-77 season … Simpson leads the all-time series 52-33 but the Knights have won six straight games by an average of 14 points … Wartburg won the season's first meeting 81-66 on Jan. 13 … Simpson is 21-15 on the road in the series.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Luther — The Norse and seventh-year head coach Amanda Bailey are 13-8 on the season and have won three of their last four … Luther is in the middle of the IIAC in scoring offense and defense, averaging 71.2 ppg (4th) while giving up 66.8 ppg (4th) … the Norse have been better offensively as of late, averaging 78 ppg over the last six … 5-10 junior forward Claire Marburger ranks third in the league in scoring (17.1 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (7.1 rpg) … she was named IIAC Player of the Week on Jan. 7, averaging 29 points and 10 rebounds in games against Simpson and Nebraska Wesleyan … she set an IIAC record by going 20-for-20 from the free throw line against NWU.
Wartburg — The Knights and 11th-year head coach Bob Amsberry are 19-0 on the season and ranked in the top 10 in both the D3hoops.com (No. 2) and WBCA Polls (No. 6) … Wartburg joins Amherst (20-0) as the only two unbeaten teams in Division III … the Knights have the second-best scoring offense in the IIAC (78.7 ppg) but boast the top scoring defense (55.4 ppg), 8.7 ppg less than No. 2 Coe … Wartburg has won eight straight games by double figures … last year's IIAC MVP, point guard Katie Sommer leads the team in scoring (14.4 ppg) and ranks 10th in the nation in assists (6.0 apg) … she also leads the IIAC with 88 made free throws … Wartburg is looking to become just the third team in the history of IIAC women's basketball (dating back to 1982-83 season) to finish the regular season undefeated … the only other teams to run the table were the 2004-05 Buena Vista Beavers (16-0), the 1998-99 Simpson Storm (20-0) and the 1991-92 Wartburg Knights (16-0).