The start of the 2022-23 National Christian College Athletic Association Division I Women’s basketball season creeps closer and every team has an opponent highlighted on their calendar. Here a few of those great great upcoming matchups on the NCCAA’s schedule:
Asbury University vs. Grace College
These teams have not played each other since Dec. 30, 2019, a 96-85 Asbury win. The only other previous matchup they had came in 2018, when Grace won 83-58.
Now, they have two different rosters and the outcome of this game will likely be determined by the play of each team’s standout junior guard.
Trinity Shearer from Asbury University gives the Eagles a defensive edge over the Grace College Lancers. In the 2021-22 season she averaged 2.7 steals a game last season (sixth best in the league) and led a defense that gave up 61.7 points per game (ninth in the league).
She will likely be tasked with guarding Grace College’s Maddie Ryman who at 5-foot-6 is four inches shorter than Shearer.
Despite the height difference, Ryman still poses as an elite offensive threat. Last season she averaged a team best 17.1 points a game (sixth in the league). She scored 20 points or more in 13 games last season, including a season-high 42 against Bethel University.
This game, on Saturday, Nov. 12, comes down to which guard can out play who.
Oakland City University vs. Alice Lloyd College
Oakland City held off Alice Lloyd 66-65 in the March 4 game that featured seven lead changes.
Their next matchup on Jan. 3, 2023 has the potential to be just as entertaining.
Oakland City averaged 81.3 points while giving up 76.1 points. Alice Lloyd scored just below Oakland City with 78 on offense and 72.8 points allowed.
Alice Lloyd may be at a disadvantage after the graduation of Haley Hall.
During her four years as an Eagle, Hall scored over 2,000 points, was selected as an NCCAA Division I Women’s First Team All-American twice and led her team to the school's first NCCAA Women’s Division I National Championship.
Losing her presence on the court could be exactly what Oakland City needs to continue its streak against the Eagles.
Mid-America Christian University vs. Southwestern Christian University
Historically, the Mid-America Christian University Evangels have proved to be the better team, beating the Southwestern Christian University Eagles in 26 out of their 34 matchups.
However, the Eagles just won the NCCAA Division I national championship last season and have all the momentum.
When South Western Christian faces the Evangels on Jan. 16, 2023, the key to winning will be based on the performance of senior Tresha Yager.
The Eagles had Thamires Andrade, who averaged 19.9 points per game last season (second best in the league). With Andrade graduated, Yager will have to step up and take a leadership role for Southwestern.
The Evangels' strength will be their team’s experience and chemistry. MACU is actually coming off its winningest season in program history, going 28-5 and qualified for the NAIA National Tournament. The team averaged 76.6 points (seventh in the league) and allowed a mere 58.7 points (fourth in the league).
Though they only have four returners, one is Kyleigh Leverich. She ranked ninth in the NCCAA in assists (114) and 13th in assist/turnover ratio (1.7).
Sterling College vs College of the Ozarks
These two teams have faced each other five times since 2007, with Sterling College finally securing its first win against the College of the Ozarks last season.
Both of these teams had a successful 2021-22 season. Sterling College finished 31-2 and the College of the Ozarks was the No. 1 seed in the NCCAA Division I National Championship.
This year’s matchup between will be a classic showdown between two senior stars.
Forward Taya Wilson leads the way for the Sterling Warriors this season. She previously averaged 15.2 points (15th best in the league) and 9.9 rebounds (eighth best in the league).
For the College of the Ozarks, it will rely on senior guard Kayley Frank to outplay Wilson. Last season she averaged 14.9 points (18th best in the league) and led her team in steals with 37.
These two teams meet on Nov. 3, 2022.
Malone University vs. Cedarville University
The teams split their two games last season, and will play twice this season.
As a whole, they could not be more similar. Last season Cedarville and Malone averaged 69.2 points per game. The difference came on defense with Cedarville allowing 64.7 points and Malone giving up 67 points.
The recipe for Cedarville will include scoring performances from senior guards Paige Garr and Isabelle Bolender. Garr averaged 13.2 points last season and Bolender averaged 12.2.
With their leading scorer graduated, these two will need to work together to lead the Yellow Jackets in the 2022-23 season.
Guard Holly Groff, a graduate student, returns for Malone. She averaged 14.4 points last season.
Fans should certainly pencil these games into their 2022-23 calendar. A new rivalry can begin and history can be made at any time.
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