(MSU Billings release)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Taking on a pair of first-time opponents this week at the NCAA D2 Daytona Beach Shootout, the Montana State University Billings women’s basketball team will play its final two games before the holiday break.
The Yellowjackets (3-3) will take on Maryville University (5-3) on Tuesday at 1 p.m. Eastern/11 a.m. Mountain, before facing No. 22 Angelo State University (6-1) on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Eastern/9 a.m. Mountain. Live video for both games will be available online here, and live statistics will be available online here.
“We are looking forward to getting back into action after several days off,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “Last week was all about final exams, and now we can refocus on playing basketball. Playing in Florida will be a lot of fun, as our players will get an opportunity to share quality time together off the court while also getting to play two important games.”
MSUB last played on Dec. 7, losing 65-50 in an exhibition game against Rocky Mountain College. The team has not had a counting game since Dec. 1 – a 63-57 defeat at Great Northwest Athletic Conference foe Western Washington University. This will be the first time in MSUB’s history it has faced both Maryville and Angelo State. “It will be nice to play a couple of teams we haven’t seen before,” Woodin said. “Maryville has excellent team balance and we will be challenged to defend their up-tempo style. Angelo State may be the most talented team we will face all year. They narrowly missed going to the Elite Eight last year and return basically their entire team. We need to play very smart and know when to attack early in the shot clock and when not to. I also think the quality of our shots will be critical, and we need to shoot a higher percentage than we have been. I am excited to see how we play.”
After this week’s games, MSUB will be off until it resumes conference play in the new year. The ‘Jackets will start their stretch of 18 straight GNAC games at home against Saint Martin’s University on Jan. 3 and Seattle Pacific University on Jan. 5. MSUB, which started conference play 0-2, will look to earn a top-six spot in the regular-season standings for a second straight trip to the conference tournament. This year’s event runs March 7-9, 2019 at Sam Carver Gym on the campus of Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.
BUZZIN IN THE SUNSHINE STATE: MSUB’s women’s basketball program makes its second-ever trip to Florida to compete and returns for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign. The last time MSUB played in the Sunshine State, it lost 66-55 at Florida Southern in Lakeland on Feb. 2, 2004 and fell 59-53 at Nova Southeastern two days later in Fort Lauderdale. This will mark the first time MSUB plays at the Ocean Center Arena in Daytona Beach.
TOP-NOTCH COMPETITION: Wednesday’s game against Angelo State will mark the first of five scheduled games against NCAA D2 top-25 opponents this year. The ‘Jackets are scheduled to play No. 7 Northwest Nazarene University and No. 13 University of Alaska Anchorage twice each during conference play. During its preseason schedule, MSUB also had four games against NAIA top-25 opponents, and won three of them.
Maryville University Saints
Tuesday, December 18 – Daytona Beach, Florida – 1 PM Eastern/11 AM Mountain
2018-19 Record: 5-3, 1-1 Great Lakes Valley Conference
Head Coach: Collin Lanam, 3rd season
2017-18 Record: 7-17, 4-14 GLVC
The Saints picked up a win in their most recent regular-season game, topping Christian Brothers University 97-84 on December 8. The team split its first two Great Lakes Valley Conference contests of the year, topping University of Illinois Springfield 74-64 on Nov. 29 before falling to McKendree University 68-47 on Dec. 1. On Sunday, the Saints lost to Division I Illinois State 61-52 in an exhibition contest. Maryville will also face Urbana University at the Daytona Beach Shootout, after Tuesday’s game against MSUB.
Mary Barton is the team’s leading scorer, with an average of 12.6 points per game. She has been near automatic from the foul line at 19-for-20 (95.0 percent), and also paces the squad with 32 assists while starting all eight games.
Kayla Steward is also in double figures with 10.6 points per game, and is close behind Barton with 31 assists on the season. Stephanie Sherwood and Abby Monis are the team’s top rebounders, averaging 6.9 and 6.3 boards, respectively. Along with Barton, Steward, and Sherwood, UU Longs is the other Saint to have started all eight contests and is averaging 6.8 points with a team-best 13 steals.
As a team Maryville is being out-scored 71.2-70.1, while shooting 40.8 percent from the floor, 27.8 percent from 3-point range, and 73.3 percent from the free-throw line. The Saints are also narrowly out-rebounded 36.6-35.5, and are nearly even in assist-turnover ratio at 0.97.
The Series: Tuesday will mark the first-ever meeting between Maryville and MSUB.
No. 22 Angelo State University Belles
Wednesday, December 19 – Daytona Beach, Florida – 11 AM Eastern/9 AM Mountain
2018-19 Record: 6-1, 3-0 Lone Star Conference
Head Coach: Renae Shippey, 2nd season
2017-18 Record: 23-7, 16-4 LSC
Picking up where it left off after a regional run and 23-7 finish in 2017-18, Angelo State has won six of its first seven games this year and cracked into the latest Women’s Basketball Coaches Association top-25 rankings. ASU rebounded from its first loss of the year – a 70-64 setback against St. Mary’s on December 8 – with a resounding 78-38 dismantling of Texas A&M International University last Tuesday. The Belles will take on Urbana University on Tuesday before Wednesday’s game against MSUB.
Marquita Daniels, who was named the Lone Star Conference Preseason Player of the Year, is living up to the hype so far as she paces the team with 16.2 points per game. That total also ranks second in the conference, and she also leads her team with 26 steals and 24 assists through the first seven games of the year. Daniels did not play in the team’s most recent game against TAMU International last week.
Dezirae Hampton and De’Anira Moore are tied for second on the team with 14.3 points per game, and the latter leads her team while ranking third in the LSC with 8.9 rebounds per game. Moore is an efficient post player who shoots 51.3 percent from the field, while Hampton is a threat across the court at 43.4 percent overall and 35.9 percent from the arc with a team-leading 14 threes.
Maria Delgado and Asia Davis are two other Belles to have started every game this year, with the former turning in 9.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Angelo State’s versatility on the boards has led to a strong 44.1-36.1 rebounding advantage, and the team has blown past the competition with an average score line of 73.6-56.9 on the year. Overall ASU shoots 40.2 percent from the floor, 27.2 percent from downtown, and 69.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Among ASU’s coaching staff is a familiar face to the Yellowjackets, as former assistant coach Nate Harris is in his first season with the Belles. Harris spent three years as an assistant coach under Woodin at MSUB, helping the ‘Jackets to the Sweet 16 during the 2013-14 campaign.
The Series: Wednesday will be the first-ever game between MSUB and Angelo State.