WBB Preview: Storm travel to Luther for IIAC Tournament Semifinals

Jenna Taylor
Jenna Taylor

DECORAH, Iowa -- The sixth-seeded Simpson women's basketball team looks to continue its improbable run in the Iowa Conference Tournament when it faces the second-seeded Luther Norse in the tournament semifinals on Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Regents Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

The game will be video streamed on Luther.edu courtesy of the Luther Sports Information Department.

The Storm (14-12) upset third-seeded Coe 90-85 in overtime in Tuesday's first round. Noreen Morrow scored a career-high 28 points on 12-for-19 shooting to lead Simpson, which earned its first win in the conference tournament since capturing the title in 2013.

The second-seeded Norse (18-9) earned a first-round bye after going 12-4 in conference play. Luther last played on Feb. 17, an 83-62 win over Buena Vista. The Norse finished the regular season winning 6 of 7.

The winner of Thursday's game advances to the championship to play the winner of the other semifinal matchup between fourth-seeded Loras and top-seeded Wartburg. That game will be played Saturday, Feb. 24 at the home court of the highest remaining seed. The winner of the championship game earns the league's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Fore more, visit the IIAC Tournament Homepage.

GAME #27

vs. Luther (18-9)
Thursday, Feb. 22 — 7 p.m.
Regents Center — Decorah, Iowa
Live Video/Live Stats

SIMPSON IN THE IIAC TOURNAMENT
  • Simpson is making its 18th appearance in the IIAC Tournament. The Storm made the tournament for 17 straight seasons before missing out in 2017.
  • Simpson is 27-10 all-time in the tournament, taking home the championship seven times.
  • Simpson is 12-2 in the semifinal round, winning their last six.
  • Simpson has never lost to Luther in the IIAC Tournament, winning all four meetings. The teams last met in the 2006 championship game, an 81-68 Simpson win.
STORM QUICK HITS
  • Simpson and 31st-year head coach Brian Niemuth snapped a three-game losing streak in the IIAC Tournament with Tuesday's win at Coe, giving the Storm their first win as the No. 6 seed in the tournament's 19-year history.
  • The Storm lost by an average of 21.5 points in both regular-season meetings with Coe, including a humbling 28-point loss just three days prior to Tuesday's first-round matchup.
  • In need of a spark off the bench, Niemuth shook up the starting lineup against the Kohawks. Freshman forward Cameron Kincaid got her first career start while sophomore Jenna Taylor came off the bench. The move worked, as Taylor scored 22 points and went 3-for-6 from beyond the arc.
  • The Storm rank in the top-10 nationally in field goal percentage (9th, 45.9) and 3-point percentage (7th, 38.3). Noreen Morrow is 11th in the country in field goal percentage (57.8) and Janey Botkins is fourth in the 3-point percentage (47.1).
  • Simpson is third in the IIAC in scoring (74.7) and fifth in points allowed (69.2)
  • The Storm are led by senior post Noreen Morrow, who leads the team in scoring (14.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.1 rpg). She ranks seventh in the IIAC in scoring and fifth in rebounding and shoots a league-best 57.8 percent from the field.
  • Earlier this season, Morrow became the 17th player in school history to score 1,000 career points and just the seventh to score 1,000 points and pull down 500 rebounds. She goes into Thursday's game 11th in school history with 1,114 career points and seventh with 590 rebounds.
  • Sharp-shooter Janey Botkins is the team's deep threat, hitting 57 3-pointers during the season. She already has 105 for her career, just the fifth player in school history to reach the century mark. She shoots 47.1 percent from beyond the arc, good for fourth in Division III.
  • The guard tandem of Claire Johnson and Victoria Hazard has accounted for 180 assists this season. Hazard leads the team with 92 assists and Johnson has 88. No other pair of teammates in the IIAC has accounted for more than 76 apiece.
ABOUT THE NORSE
  • Luther and seventh-year head coach Amanda Bailey went 18-9 during the regular season and earned the No. 2 seed in the IIAC Tournament with a 12-4 mark in league play.
  • The Norse are making their 15th appearance in the conference tournament. This marks the third time in the past four years Luther has earned one of the top two seeds.
  • Luther ranks fourth in the IIAC in scoring (72.7) and fourth in points allowed (66.7).
  • The Norse are led by Claire Marburger, who leads the team in scoring (17.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.0). She ranks third in the conference in scoring and sixth in rebounding.
  • Point guard Laura Hamilton leads the IIAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8) and ranks second with 4.2 assists per game.
  • Luther went 9-2 at the Regents Center during the regular season. The losses came against undefeated Wartburg on Feb. 7 (63-54) and Loras on Jan. 20 (71-63).
SERIES NOTES
  • Simpson and Luther meet for the 87th time in a series that dates back to the 1976-77 season.
  • Simpson leads the all-time series 45-36, but Luther has had the upper hand as of late, winning 7 of 8.
  • The teams split the regular season series, each defending its home floor. Simpson won 78-73 in Indianola on Jan. 3 and Luther won 76-55 on Jan. 31 in Decorah.
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