The Iowa Conference Tournament is days away and the Simpson women’s basketball team is in a tight battle with three other teams: Loras, Coe and Dubuque.
Loras is currently the No. 1 team in the conference with a record of 16-7, 11-1 in conference play. The Duhawks were victorious in their first 10 conference outings before falling to Dubuque last week. Loras took on Simpson in Indianola for the season’s first conference matchup and went home with a 54-55 win.
The top players for the Duhawks are Katie Langmeier, Kaitlin Phillips and Victoria May.
Langmeier leads the team in points (14.7 per game), rebounds (8.8 per game) and steals (59 total). Phillips averages 12.1 points per game, shoots a team-high 43 percent from behind the arc, but is a liability when it comes to handling the ball as she leads the team in turnovers with a total of 62. May scores 10.3 points per game while converting 55 percent of her shots from the field.
As a team, Loras averages 66.5 points per game and gives up 64. The Duhawks struggle greatly from the charity stripe, shooting just 64 percent on the season – which ranks dead last in the Iowa Conference.
Coe (14-9, 9-3 Iowa Conference) is currently tied for second with the Storm in the conference standings. The Kohawks lost two games early in conference play to Simpson and Loras. Since then, the team has gone 8-1 with a loss to Dubuque splitting a series of four-game win streaks.
The Kohawks have arguably the most well-rounded starting five in the Iowa Conference.
Mackenzie Reed averages 13.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Mary Halvorson averages 12.0 points per game and 5.3 rebounds. Halvorson and Reed each shoot 47 percent from the field and 81 percent from the free throw line. Megan Hayes scores 12.0 points per game and leads the team in blocks with 20 on the season. Hayes also shoots 57.5 percent from the field. Mickey Hansche and Hannah Breitbach averages 11.4 and 9.7 points respectively, and each are threats when it comes to shooting 3-pointers.
Simpson also sits at 14-9 overall and a 9-3 Iowa Conference record. The Storm has lost its past
three conference games by a total of nine points. The Storm won the regular season conference title last season with a 13-1 finish. Hopes of becoming repeat outright regular season conference champions are lost as Simpson can only grab a share of the conference title.
Last year, the Storm team went on to win the Iowa Conference Tournament – an opportunity it will have once again.
Senior Morgan Terpstra is the leader for the Simpson ballclub this year. She averages 10.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore Brooke Panzer scores an average of 9.5 points per contest and grabs 5.1 rebounds per game. Brittany Hedrick, a freshman guard, has provided a stellar first season for the Storm. She averages 9.3 points per game and 3.0 assists per game.
Morgan Mauro does not mind pulling the trigger when she has a shot from behind the 3-point line as she is making 46 percent of those shots. Freshman center Markayla Mahr provides a presence in the paint and has tallied a conference-leading 56 blocks on the season. Whitney Van Wyk has come on strong lately on the defensive end and crushed the boards. The Storm has seen quality minutes and performances from bench players in sophomores Maddie Muhlenbruck,
Maddie Bosworth, MacKenzie Haupt and freshman Katie Ahrenholtz this season.
Dubuque sits at 15-8 overall with an 8-4 record in conference games. The four losses suffered by
the Spartans have come from Loras, Coe and falling twice to Simpson. The Spartans went on a three-game losing skid before recovering to go 4-1 in its last five contests with a notable win against Loras last week. Jenna Kotas is the team’s leader as she averages 15.4 points per game and comes down with 5.3 rebounds per game. Daneshia Snitker averages 7.1 points per game and is a smart shooter as she converts 65.7 percent of the shots she takes.
Conference tournament matchups are still to be decided, as the final seeding will play itself out
on Saturday. Coe hosts Loras in what could be a matchup determining if Coe will get a share of
the regular season conference title. Simpson will take on Buena Vista in Storm Lake and Dubuque will travel to Decorah to face Luther. Regardless of the final seeding in the Iowa Conference, it will surely prove to be a battle for all three rounds of tournament play.
The conference tournament champions will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament, which will begin on March 7.