Women’s Basketball Returns to Action at the 2016 Marriott Columbus Airport Holiday Tournament

Women’s Basketball Returns to Action at the 2016 Marriott Columbus Airport Holiday Tournament

The Case Western Reserve University women's basketball team will return from a near three-week layoff to compete at the 2016 Marriott Columbus Airport Holiday Tournament, hosted by Capital University in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday, December 29th and Friday, December 30th.  The Spartans will open play at the tournament against #16/22 Wisconsin-Whitewater at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Tournament Schedule
Following the Spartans' game against UW-Whitewater on Thursday, host Capital will take on Olivet College at 7:00 p.m.  The losing teams will face each other in the consolation game at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, followed by the championship game at 5:00 p.m.

Live Coverage
Fans can follow the action with live stats on both days at http://athletics.capital.edu/sports/wbkb/live-stats.  A live video webcast of Thursday's game is available at https://boxcast.tv/view/womens-basketball-vs-olivet-817127, while the video of Friday's game will be posted to the women's basketball schedule page after the first day of competition.  Fans can also track the action via the tournament website at http://athletics.capital.edu/sports/wbkb/2016-17/2016_Holiday_Tournament.

CWRU Spartans
The Spartans are 7-2 overall this season, including a perfect 4-0 mark in road games and a 1-0 record in neutral-site contests.  Case Western Reserve will be playing for the first time since December 9th, when the team picked up a 76-70 win at Kenyon College to extend its winning streak to five games.  The Spartans are averaging 79.4 points per game (13th among all NCAA Division III teams and second in the UAA), while shooting 45.0% overall from the field and 34.0% from beyond the three-point arc.  The team has a +0.9 turnover margin and has allowed 75.7 points per game, while collecting 36.2 rebounds per game with a -4.7 rebound margin per contest.

Junior forward and co-captain Kara Hageman leads all Spartan players this season with 21.3 points per game, a 53.3 field goal percentage, and 21 blocks, while averaging 6.7 rebounds per game.  Sophomore forward Hillary Hellmann has added 20.1 points per game, connecting on 25-of-57 three-point attempts for a 43.9% mark, with 4.4 rebounds per game.  Senior guard and co-captain Jess McCoy has added 15.1 points on a 52.0 field goal percentage, and leads the team with 6.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game.  Sophomore guard Alexis Amburgey (3.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.6 spg) and freshman guard Alicia Marie Gonzales (2.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.0 apg) have rounded out the Spartans' starting lineup, while freshman guard Kendall McConico (9.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg), senior guard Alex Roth (3.3 ppg), and sophomore guard Kasey Yu (3.1 ppg) have all played significant minutes for the team.

Case Western Reserve is under the leadership of Head Coach Jennifer Reimer, who is in her 10th season with the Spartans.  She holds an overall record of 271-219 (.553 winning percentage) during her 20-year career, and her 114 wins at CWRU are just six shy of the program's all-time record.  She is assisted by Alexandra Dellas and Erin Gdaniec.

#16/22 UW-Whitewater Warhawks
Wisconsin-Whitewater has opened the season with an 8-1 overall record, including a 1-1 mark in road games and a 4-0 ledger in neutral-site contests.  After starting the campaign with eight-consecutive wins to rise to 16th in the D3hooops.com Top-25 and 22nd in the WBCA Poll, the Warhawks dropped their last game, 86-78 on the road to Augustana.  Whitewater has averaged 71.2 points per game, while allowing 58.1 per contest, and has shot 40.1% overall from the field, including a 32.0% mark from three-point range.  The team has averaged 41.1 rebounds per game and has outrebounded their opponents by an average of 6.0 per game, while averaging 3.1 turnovers less than their opposition this season.

The team has two players who average double-figure scoring totals this season in junior guard Brooke Trewyn (15.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and junior guard Malia Smith (13.4 ppg).  Senior guard Reilly Stewart has come off the bench to average 8.9 points per game and leads the team with a 52.0% mark from the field, and junior forward Andrea Meinert has added 8.7 points, while leading the team with 6.3 rebounds.

Whitewater is coached by Keri Carollo, who is now in her 15th season at the program's helm, coaching the team to an overall record of 275-129.  She is assisted by Amy Zelinger, Hoe Carollo, Kirsten Hammer and Steff Glynn.
 
Thursday's game will be just the second-ever meeting between the two teams.  The Spartans and the Warhawks previous met during the 2004-05 season, with Whitewater claiming a 71-59 win.

Capital Crusaders
The Crusaders will enter the tournament with a 3-5 overall record, including a 1-3 mark in home games this season.  The team will be looking to put an end to a four-game losing streak, including a 51-40 loss at home to Baldwin Wallace in its last outing on January 17th.  Capital has scored 59.0 points per game this season on a 40.4% shooting mark overall from the field and a 23.9% tally from long range, while allowing 59.2 points per contest.  The Crusaders average 40.6 rebounds per game, 6.1 more than their opponents this season, and have a -1.1 turnover margin.

Senior forward Colleen Fondessy leads the team with 12.4 points per game and 13 blocks this season, while sophomore forward Erin Riser has added 9.1 points and leads the team with 5.6 rebounds and 22 assists during the campaign.  Freshman guard Cassidy Bosch has 1.6 steals per game to lead all Crusaders and has added 5.1 points per contest this year.

Capital is under the leadership of Dixie Jeffers, who is now in her 31st season with the Crusaders, and ranks as the sixth-winningest coach all-time in NCAA Division III history.  She has a record of 632-205 with the team, and an overall mark of 684-226 during her 34-year career, which includes a three-year stint at Rio Grande.  Jeffers is assisted by Andrea Preston and Jason Wright.

The Spartans and the Crusaders have met three times previously, with Case Western Reserve winning each of the previous matchups.  The two teams last played during the 2008-09 season, with CWRU picking up an 80-67 win.

Olivet Comets
Olivet will enter the tournament looking for its first win of the 2016-17 campaign, after starting the year with an 0-9 record, including an 0-4 mark in road games and an 0-1 neutral site ledger.  The team is coming off a 76-55 loss to Lawrence Tech in its last game on December 20th.  The Comets have averaged 50.2 points per game, while shooting 28.2% from the field and 20.6% from three point range.  Defensively, Olivet has allowed 81.4 points per contest, while averaging 33.4 rebounds per game, 12.0 less per game than their opposition, and have a -3.3 turnover margin.

Senior guard Jillian Nickels leads the team with 11.9 points per game this season, while senior center Katie McKinnon has added 8.6 points per contest.  Freshman center Jazmin Hildebrand leads the squad with 6.4 rebounds per game and has scored 8.0 points per game this season.

Olivet is led by Head Coach Zach Ingles, who is in his first season with the team.  He is assisted by Crystal Davis (a former assistant coach at CWRU) and Melvin White.

Should CWRU be matched up against Olivet on Friday, it would be the first ever meeting between the two teams.

Winning Streak
The Spartans entered their holiday break with a five-game winning streak, the fourth-longest such streak in the program's history, and longest by the team since a six game stretch that spanned the end of the 2011-12 season and the start of the 2012-13 campaign.  The longest winning streak is program history was a nine-game stretch during the 2009-10 campaign.

McCoy Approaches 1,000
Case Western Reserve senior guard Jess McCoy will enter the week with 885 career points, and is just 115 points shy of becoming the 13th-player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-career point mark.  She currently ranks 19th in school history in career points, and is two shy of matching Laura Mummey (2012-16) for 18th place, 20 shy of Brooke Orcutt (2011-15) for 17th place, and 25 shy of Amber Hammell (2002-06) for 16th place.

20-Point Pair
The Spartans are one of just two teams in the entire NCAA (Division I, II or III) with two players currently averaging at least 20 points per game – junior forward Kara Hageman (21.3 ppg) and sophomore forward Hillary Hellmann (20.1 ppg).  The only other NCAA women's basketball team with two 20+ point scorers is Lehman College - Amely Del Rosario (27.1 ppg) and Lynda Fields (20.8 ppg)… Hageman is 20th in Division III in points per game, while Hellmann ranks 31st.

Spartan Notes

This will be the second tournament that Case Western Reserve has played in this season… CWRU won the previous tournament, going 2-0 at the Springhill Suites Tournament at Washington and Jefferson College, with Kara Hageman being named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, and Hillary Hellmann earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team… The Spartans are a win shy of matching their total from the entirety of last season… Teams that CWRU has played this season have a combined winning percentage of .600, the 77th-highest among the 441 Division III teams… The Spartans have outscored their opponents by an average of 4.2 points in the first quarter of games this season, and are 5-0 when leading after the first quarter of games in 2016-17… Wisconsin-Whitewater will be the second nationally-ranked team the Spartans will face this season, after falling to the 23rd-ranked Ohio Northern to open the season… The Spartans have eight additional games scheduled this season against nationally-ranked opposition... CWRU is 21st among DIII teams and leads the University Athletic Association with 7.9 three-pointers made per game… The team is also 19th in Division III in field goal percentage (45.0%)… Hellmann leads the UAA with 2.78 three-pointers made per game, and is second in the conference and 26th in Division III with a 43.9% mark from three-point range… Hageman leads all UAA players and is 32nd in Division III with 21 blocks this season.