(RMC Athletics release)
BILLINGS – The 18th-ranked Rocky Mountain College women’s basketball team opens a four-game road swing this weekend with two games. The Battlin’ Bears are in Lewiston, Idaho on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. MT to face No. 23 Lewis-Clark State. Rocky then travels to Dillon, Mont. to face Montana Western on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Live video and stats will be available for both games this week. Visit GoBattlinBears.com/live to find links for all live features.
Rocky heads to the road at 14-2 overall and having won eight of their past nine games. They are 4-2 in Frontier Conference action to sit in third-place and just one game behind the lead. The Battlin’ Bears are 7-2 in road games this season, but 1-2 in road conference games.
The Battlin’ Bears entered the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll on Tuesday at No. 18. That is the highest ranking in team history and it’s the first time the team has been ranked since January 5, 2016. The NAIA poll history dates back to the 1999-2000 season and this is just the fifth time Rocky has been ranked in the top 25.
Entering the week, Rocky is averaging 71.6 points per game and they are second in the Frontier by shooting 44.1 percent from the field. They lead the conference by making 7.75 threes per game while connecting on 34.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Battlin’ Bears secure 42.9 rebounds per game while averaging 15.9 assists with a 1.21 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Rocky continues to lead the NAIA in scoring defense in holding the opposition to 46.8 points per game. The team is third in the nation in field goal defense at 31.9 percent and fifth in 3-point field goal defense at 23.0 percent. Rocky opponents have shot above 40 percent in a game just three times this season.
Brooke Jones leads the team in scoring at 13.0 points per game. She has scored in double figures 12 times with two 20-point outings. Jones is seventh in the NAIA by shooting 57.3 percent from the field and her 5.7 defensive rebounds per game is 28th nationally.
Mikayla Jones averages 12.7 points per game to place second in the team. She has scored in double figures 12 times, including 10 straight entering the week. M. Jones leads Rocky with 37 steals, having recorded at least one steal in every game this season. She is 34th in the NAIA at 2.31 steals per game and 37th in total steals.
Hailee Farstveet averages 4.44 assists per game to place 15th in the NAIA and she is 17th with 71 total assists. Farstveet is also 29th in the nation with her 2.03 A/TO ratio.
Justyn Juhl has 18 blocked shots to rank 37th in the country while sitting 41st by getting 1.13 blocks per game.
Alexi Smith shoots 45.2 percent from beyond the arc to rank 11th in the NAIA and she is 14th nationally with a 2.29 A/TO ratio.
Kiana Corpus ranks third in the NAIA with her 3.34 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Rocky’s men will play the same schedule.
Rocky enters the road swing at 11-6 overall and they have won two straight games for the first time since late November. The Battlin’ Bears are 3-3 in Frontier Conference action. That has them tied for fourth in the standings, just two games behind the lead. Rocky is 5-2 on the road this season, but just 1-2 in road conference games.
The Battlin’ Bears are coming off a 2-0 week that included a 59-54 win at then-No. 2 Carroll on January 9. They also rallied in the second half to secure a 65-55 home win over Montana Tech last Saturday. Jared Samuelson was named the Frontier Conference Plyer of the Week after he averaged 19 points, 9.5 rebounds and two assists in the two wins.
Rocky is averaging 86.5 points per game this season and they shoot 47.2 percent from the field. The team make 8.24 threes per outing while shooting 35.6 percent from deep. They are third in the Frontier by making 73.4 percent at the foul line. Rocky gets 42.24 rebounds per game and they are averaging 17.88 assists per game.
Defensively, the Battlin’ Bears are allowing 72.9 points per game and opponents are shooting 41.3 percent. Rocky has a 7.2 rebounding margin and they are 13th in the NAIA by posting 4.0 blocked shots per game.
Samuelson is second in the Frontier and 17th in the NAIA by scoring 19.6 points per game. He shoots 56.5 percent from the field and ranks 11th in the nation by hitting 87.0 percent at the foul line. Samuelson has scored in double figures 14 times – including 11 straight – and he has seven games with at least 20 points.
Austin Payne is second on the team in scoring at 13.2 points per game. He has scored in double figures 10 times and shoots 53.1 percent to rank 45th in the NAIA. Payne has 26 made 3-pointers on the year and has hit a three in 14 consecutive games.
Latrelle Franklin scores 11.9 points per game with 10 games in double digits. He is sixth in the NAIA with 86 total assists and at 5.06 assists per game. Franklin also ranks 29th nationally with 30 total steals and his 1.77 steals per game is 36th in the country.
Collin May has a 3.11 assist-to-turnover ratio to tank 14th in the NAIA.