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.
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)|
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?
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?
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?
As the #2 seed, how do you feel going into the conference tournament?
You are currently on a five game winning streak. What does that momentum do for your team's confidence?
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?
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?
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 have won the conference tournament the past two years, what influence will experience play for you and your team?
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?
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?
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?
EUREKA COLLEGE "RED DEVILS"
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.
GREENVILLE COLLEGE "PANTHERS"
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"
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 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.
- 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.