This week's SLIAC Game of the Week is a rematch in women's basketball from earlier this season between Spalding University and Iowa Wesleyan College.
This Thursday will be a rematch between two of the top teams in SLIAC women's basketball as Spalding University travels north to face Iowa Wesleyan College. Spalding currently sits in first place in the standings with an 11-0 conference record while Iowa Wesleyan is tied for second place with an 8-2 mark.
Spalding begins the week with a 13-3 overall record and an 11-0 mark in the SLIAC. The Golden Eagles will be tested this week as they face two of the other three teams with a winning record in conference play this season. They open their week at Eureka before traveling over to Iowa Wesleyan on Saturday. Spalding has won nine consecutive games, the longest active winning streak in the SLIAC, and have not lost since a Dec. 9 game at DePauw.
Spalding is currently averaging 67.1 points per game, second in the league, and are keyed by the conference's top defense which allows just 49.3 points per game. The Golden Eagles defense has held opponents to just 32.6 percent shooting while forcing 19.6 turnovers per game. Spalding's athleticism shows in rebounding as well where they hold a +12.2 advantage over their opponents in rebounding margin, best in the SLIAC. Spalding's duo of Kayla Styles and Jessica Guy pace the attack. Styles, a freshman, leads the team with 16.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. She is also one of the more active defenders in the league; averaging 2.3 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. Guy, a senior, provides leadership while averaging 11.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Brandy Hunter, a sophomore, is the team's top outside threat with 28 three's this season.
About Iowa Wesleyan
Iowa Wesleyan will start Saturday's play with an 11-6 overall record and a 8-2 mark in the SLIAC. The Tigers have won two straight games, topping Principia and Greenville, stopping a previous two game losing streak. The Tigers responded to a two game losing streak with back to back wins over Principia and Greenville.
Iowa Wesleyan is averaging 60.7 points per game, seventh in the league, and allowing 57.6 points per game, second best in the SLIAC. After leading the conference in scoring last year the Tigers have had to rely on their defense this season. The Tigers lean heavily on their three-point shooting, where they knock down an average of 9.5 three's per game, tops in the conference. The Tigers long range attack is led by reigning SLIAC Player of the Year Karla Vietinghoff, averaging 16.4 points per game. Vietinghoff, a senior, is shooting 42-percent from three-point range and leads the SLIAC with 56 made three-pointers. Whitney Godden, a senior, is second on the team at 8.9 points per game while junior Rachel Williams is averaging 7.8 points and 5.5 assists per game.
- Iowa Wesleyan leads the all-time series against Spalding 2-1, sweeping both meetings last year.
- Spalding defeated Iowa Wesleyan 59-35 on January 10 in the season's first meeting.
- After winning 21 of their first 22 conference games, Iowa Wesleyan suffered their first back to back conference losses two weeks ago when they fell to Spalding and Westminster.
- Spalding is in the midst of a season long four game road trip.
- The game will feature two of the top scorers in the league; Spalding's Kayla Styles (16.1 ppg) ranks fourth while Iowa Wesleyan's Karla Vietinghoff (16.4 ppg) ranks third.
- At 11-0, Spalding is looking to become the first undefeated team in conference play since Westminster achieved the feat in the 2009-10 season.