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Same Teams, New Setting; Eureka, Greenville, Spalding, Westminster To Do Battle

Same Teams, New Setting; Eureka, Greenville, Spalding, Westminster To Do Battle

The Tournament
The same four teams from last year's SLIAC Women's Basketball Tournament return to do battle in the 2016 version; although Westminster College will serve as host this year. Eureka College, Greenville College, Spalding University, and Westminster College are back once more as they will compete this week for the SLIAC's automatic berth into the NCAA Division III National Tournament.

Westminster College secured the #1 seed in the tournament, closing out the regular season with 14 consecutive wins and going 16-2 in SLIAC play this season. The host Blue Jays will face #4 seed Eureka College at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 26. The tournaments first game will pit #2 seed Greenville College against #3 seed Spalding University at 6 p.m. on Friday. The SLIAC Championship game will be Saturday, February 27 at 7 p.m. in Fulton, Mo.

Broadcast Information
The Championship Game of this year's SLIAC Women's Basketball Tournament will be broadcast live on College Casts. You can listen to the Championship Game HERE You can also watch all three games of the tournament on Video HERE

Step Into the Office (Interviews by SLIAC intern Colin Gowin)


Eureka Coach
Steve Thompson

 

You are playing Westminster in the first round, who has won their past 14 games; what is your game plan to slow them down and come away with a win?
"They are playing very well and have tremendous senior leadership. They are the number one seed for a reason and we need to get it going early."

You have made the tournament the past five years, which are the only five years Eureka has ever made the tournament. What do you need to do to come up with the first tournament championship in the history of the program?
"We need to show up and build our confidence. At the end of the day we are all 0-0 coming into the tournament."

You were 2-7 to start the season and are clicking at the right time. How do you carry that momentum over into the post-season?
"We need things to break our way early to build some confidence. That's what helped us turn it around this year. We've been knocked back a little bit and if we can get it started early, we can get something going."


Greenville Coach
Roy Mulholland

As the #2 seed, how do you feel going into the conference tournament?
"I think you always feel good as a higher seed. It's always tough to go anywhere and win on the road and we did that this year. We feel good that we split with Spalding this year. We are playing well and are healthy."

You are currently on a five game winning streak. What does that momentum do for your team's confidence?
"I feel like it's really helped. Some of the ways we have won have been great. Beating a very, very good Iowa Wesleyan team in a comeback was a big boost. We are comfortable and confident with the way we are playing."

This is your second straight appearance in the tournament but you have never won a tournament game, how do you ignore that and move past it?
"It is a new year, and a new place and we are getting to where we want to be. I don't feel like there is a lot of pressure on us. We are just going to continue to focus on the process."


Spalding Coach
Charlie Just

You will be playing Greenville in the first round, who you split your two games with this season. What are your thoughts going into the game?
"We have to play really well. Greenville has an outstanding team and Coach Mulholland has them ready. We have nothing but respect for their program. They beat us by 10 on our home court, so we need to be prepared."

Closing out the season you had a sizeable win over Blackburn, what does that do for your team's confidence moving into the tournament?
"You always want to end the season with a win. Momentum is really important this time of year. Hopefully our players are confident."

You have won the conference tournament the past two years, what influence will experience play for you and your team?
"We got a number of players on this team who were on those teams and know what it is all about. We just have to be the best that we can be and hope it turns out how we want it."


Westminster Coach
Tracy Braden

Moving into the conference tournament, how excited are you to be playing these games at home and how beneficial do you believe home court advantage will be?
"We are extremely excited. That was one of the goals that the seniors and upperclassmen set last spring. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter where you are playing but it is easier for most of our fans and student body to be at the game, however you still have to prepare for the next game."

The last two times you have hosted, in 2012 and 2013, you won the tournament. Does that ease your mind at all moving into this tournament?
"That was a different team, different players, different year. You can't really lean on that and it doesn't have a determining factor."

You have won 14 straight games, are ranked first in the conference, as well as 8th in the central region; where is your team's confidence level at knowing this?
"It is pretty high. We feel pretty solid going into the tournament. After Saturdays game we talked about things to work on this week. They are confident but not cocky about where they are at. They are tireless when it comes to getting back into the gym and making each other better each year."

 

 

EUREKA COLLEGE "RED DEVILS"
Eureka College had to wait until the the last week of the season to find out if they were in on this year's tournament. Eureka went 11-14 overall during the regular season and finished with a 10-8 conference record. The Red Devils overcame a slow start to the season, in which they were 2-7 to start; rolling off six straight wins at the end of January to get them back in the race. 

Eureka averaged 60.1 points per game this season, seventh in the conference. The Red Devils attempted the most three's in the league this season, averaging 28.7 attempts per game. Leading the way was senior guard Emily Camden. Camden averaged 14.3 points per game, leading the SLIAC with 65 three-pointers. Junior forward Michaela Balducci is the Red Devils inside force, averaging 11.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Although the Red Devils shot a league low 32.9 percent from the field this season, they are aggressive after the misses, ranking fourth in the league in rebounds.

1

GREENVILLE COLLEGE "PANTHERS"
Greenville wrapped up the regular season with an 18-7 overall record and a 14-4 record in conference play, their most conference wins in program history. The second half has been a memorable one for the Panthers as they have gone 12-3 since the New Year including winning their last five games.

Greenville averaged 68.4 points per game, fourth in the SLIAC, but more impressively allowed a league low 55.2 points per game. The also led the conference in both offensive field goal percentage (45.2) and defensive field goal percentage (32.5). The Panthers also were tops in rebounding margin, with a 6.5 per game advantage. The Panthers use a balanced attack with four players averaging in double figures. Coley baker led the team at 11.6 points per game and is a defensive presence in the middle, leading the league with 88 blocked shots. Laura Goodnight averages 10.9 points per game and teams with Taylor Paulin (10.8 ppg) as the team's biggest outside threat. Missy Deal also averaged 10.8 points per game and shot 59-percent from the floor.

SPALDING UNIVERSITY "GOLDEN EAGLES"
It has been an up and down season for Spalding. After going 8-2 in the first portion of the season, the Golden Eagles dropped their first two games of the calender year. On four occasions this season the Golden Eagles followed a loss with another loss but also managed two four game win streaks.

Spalding averaged 68.7 points per game this season, third best int he SLIAC. The Golden Eagles prefer to work the ball inside while also limiting their turnovers, committing the fewest turnovers in the SLIAC this season. After losing Dee Dee Sliter to an injury early in the year, freshman guard Alex Martin stepped up to lead the team in scoring at 12.8 points per game. Maya Hardin, an athletic forward, averaged 11.6 points and a team high 8.5 rebounds per game. Brandy Hunter (10.9 ppg) and Mackenzie Myers (10.2) are the team's top outside shooters when they do decide to put it up from long range.

WESTMINSTER COLLEGE "BLUE JAYS"
Westminster wrapped up their first regular season title since 2012-13 with a 14 game win streak to close out the regular season; going 20-4 overall and 16-2 in the SLIAC.

Westminster led the conference in scoring this season at 72.0 points per game. The Blue Jays are dangerous both inside and out, ranking second in the league in field goal percentage and three-point percentage. Mackenzie Haddox runs the point and averaged 9.9 points per game while dishing out 105 assists. The dangerous trio of Andrea Zalis (14.0 ppg), Krista Armontrout (13.9 ppg), and Kasey Gatson (13.9 ppg). lead the scoring attack. Armountrout shoots 50-percent from the field while Zalis has shown the ability to go both inside and outside. Gatson actually finished second in the league in three point percentage, knocking down 42.7 percent of her shots.

Tournament Tidbits

  • Eureka is making their fifth consecutive trip to the SLIAC Tournament, the only five times the Red Devils have played in the SLIAC Tournament.
  • Greenville's 18 wins are their most since winning 20 in the 2001-02 season.
  • Spalding is the two time defending SLIAC Tournament Champion.
  • Westminster's current 14 game winning streak is the second longest in program history, just one behind the record.
  • Eureka is 2-4 in four previous appearances in the SLIAC Tournament, falling to Spalding in the championship game last year and to Westminster in the 2012 championship game.
  • Greenville is looking for their first win in the SLIAC Tournament, having gone 0-6 in their previous six appearances.
  • Spalding is making their fourth consecutive tournament appearance and hold a 4-1 all-time record in tournament play.
  • Westminster is making their 16th tournament trip, the second most in SLIAC history, and have a 9-13 all-time record.
  • Spalding and Westminster are the only teams in the field to have won the SLIAC Tournament. Each team has won two titles; Spalding in 2014 and 2015 while Westminster captured theirs in 2012 and 2013.
  • Eureka went 2-4 against this year's tournament teams.
  • Greenville was 2-4 against teams in this year's tournament.
  • Spalding finished 2-4 against the tournament teams.
  • Westminster was 5-1 against this year's tournament field.
In the first round you are playing Westminster, who has won their past 14 games. What

is your game plan to slow them down and come away with a win?

 “They are playing very well with a tremendous senior leadership. They are the

o You’ve made the tournament the past 5 years, which are the only 5 years Eureka College

has ever made the tournament. What do you need to do to come up with the first

tournament championship in the history of the program?

 “We need to show up and build our confidence. At the end of the day we are all

o You were 2-7 to start the season and are clicking at the right time. How do you carry

that momentum over into the post-season?

 “We need so things to break our way early to build some confidence. That’s

number one seed for a reason and we need to get it going early.”

0-0 coming into the tournament.”

what helped us turn it around this year. We’ve been knocked back a little bit

and if we can get it started early, we can get something going.”
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