Eighth-seeded Denver opens up play in the first round of the Summit League tournament on Saturday against the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Western Illinois. Game time is slated for 11 a.m. MT inside the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Saturday will mark the third time this season that the two teams meet with WIU holding a 2-0 advantage.
The Crimson and Gold trail 7-1 in the all-time series with the Leathernecks.
In their last meeting, WIU defeated DU by a final score of 80-68 in Denver.
The Pioneers’ lone victory in the series against WIU came on Jan. 26, 2014 when DU came away with an 87-83 victory inside Magness Arena.
Pioneers This Season
As a team, DU ranks 24th in the nation in three point field-goal percentage at 36.4 percent on the season. That number ranks DU at third-best in the Summit League in the same category.
Senior guard Jacqlyn Poss is nearing the 1,000 point club for the Crimson and Gold. The Minnesota native currently has 971 points on her career, just 29 points shy of entering the elite company of just 23 Pios before her.
Junior forward Jordyn Alt is on the cusp of breaking into the top 25 in the DU All-Time record books in total career rebounds. The Minnesota native currently has 464 total boards ranking 26th all time.
The nation’s former three-point field goal leader, freshman guard Lauren Loven, currently ranks 25th in the nation in three-point field goals made this season with 83. With those 83 3s, Loven earned a No. 15 ranking on the Denver All-Time list in three point field goals made and is No. 1 in DU history in the category of most three’s made in a single season.
Senior forward Jesse Spittel leads the Crimson and Gold with 5.4 rebounds per game, 13th-best in the League. Spittel is third all-time in offensive rebounding average with 2.0 per game on her career.
Freshman guard Briana Johnson made her mark in the DU All-Time record books, ranking No. 1 in the category of free throw percentage. Johnson is 105-of-125 this season from the charity stripe for 84 percent.
In its last match, Denver scored 78 points in the loss to Omaha. That point total is the second-highest for the Pios this season with the highest being 80 points against North Dakota State on Dec. 31.
Scouting Western Illinois
Western Illinois comes into Saturday’s contest with a record of 23-6 including going 13-3 in Summit League play, earning the No. 1 overall seed going into the tournament.
The Leathernecks average 80.4 points per game with a scoring margin of +13.9, ranking 19th in the country in that category.
WIU is led in scoring by Emily Clemens who averages 19.2 ppg. Morgan Blumer has 16.8 ppg this season for the Leathernecks while Taylor Higginbotham has 14.6 ppg. All three Leathernecks rank in the top 230 scorers in the nation with Clemens ranking 31st.
As a squad, the Leathernecks rank seventh in the nation in three-point field goals made with 263 on the season.
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