No. 22 Three Rivers will matchup with Iowa Western with a spot in the national tournament on the line. Here’s a look at what to expect from the Reivers.
Iowa Western is a taller group, featuring four players listed at 6-foot or taller. The tallest player on the roster is 6-foot, 3-inch center Julia Raflund. She likely won’t be too much of an influence on the game’s outcome, logging fewer than 10 minutes per game and averaging 3.7 points on the year.
“They have two pretty good post players, 6-1 and 6-2,” Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said. “Decent guards, they’re able to get up and down the floor pretty well.”
The Reivers have a veteran group with six sophomores on the roster. Sophomore forward Kiara Dallmann is 6-foot-2 inches and leads the bunch at 13.8 points per game while shooting 61.9 percent from the field for the year, the fourth-best shooting percentage in the country.
Redshirt freshman Aubriana Noti is 6-foot-1 and shoots 54 percent from the field, scoring 11 points per game, and sophomore guard De’Ayra Davis averages 10 points per game to round out the three double-figure scorers on the team.
“I think both teams are going to have matchup problems,” Walk said. “I mean, with their size, we’ve only got one 6-foot kid, they’ve got like three. But on the flip side of that, the offensive side, we’ve got five kids that can play out on the perimeter, and I don’t know how well their bigs guard out on the perimeter, so hopefully that’ll give us the edge.
“Just the way we play, we run up and down the floor, and you know, they’re going to make trips where they’re probably not used to having to play 40 minutes. So we hope that kind of negates their factor with us.”
The rotations will likely depend on the situation and flow of the game for Iowa Western. Walk said he’s seen games where the Reivers stick to the top seven or eight players in their rotation, and there have been times where he’s seen them go as many as 10 deep.
The Reivers have played a tough schedule so far, having faced six top-25 teams in the regular season. They’re 1-5 in those games with their lone win coming against No. 21 Western Nebraska in an 80-75 win in November. Western Nebraska recently avenged that loss with a 69-66 win in the Reivers’ regular-season finale Feb. 20. The loss snapped a 14-game winning streak for Iowa Western. It’s hard to tell exactly how Iowa Western matches up against top-25 competition. The Reivers were blown out 63-39 against No. 19 Odessa on Nov. 15, but they hung with No. 2 Seward County in a 72-65 loss the next night.
In the regular season, Iowa Western is 5-0 against Region XVI teams. The Reivers beat Mineral Area twice, Jefferson College, Moberly Area and State Fair once each. In the second game against Mineral Area, Iowa Western got all they could handle but hit some key shots to come away with a 59-56 win on the road. They started the season ranked No. 19 in the Division I poll, but their eight losses this year have knocked them out of the top 25. Nonetheless, they had built a 14-game winning streak prior to their loss to Western Nebraska.
Iowa Western plays a gritty style, boasting a plus-11 rebounding margin, which is 19th in Division I, and allows 57.7 points per game, good for 29th in the country.
Iowa Western is primarily a man-to-man team that may mix in a little bit of zone and occasional press.
Season passes will not be honored Friday, but the game is set to start at 7 p.m. Friday in the Libla Family Sports Complex.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic