The Truman Women's Basketball team will face a pair of teams with a combine record of 11-1 when they head to southern California for the Ayers Inn & Suites Lancer Classic on Monday and Tuesday.
Truman will open with host California Baptist at 9:30 p.m. (cst) and then play NAIA nationally-ranked Vanguard (Calif.) University at 7:00 p.m. (cst).
The Bulldogs (6-1; 1-1 MIAA) head west after a week of final exams and a 72-62 win over Missouri Southern last Saturday (Dec. 8).
Allie Norton and Becka McHenry each scored 18 points, Courtney Strait had three big three-pointers and Nicole Gloor added 11 points with four steals as Truman won their third straight over the Lions and fifth in their last six meetings with Missouri Southern.
McHenry leads Truman in scoring at 13.3 points per game and is shooting 50% from the floor, 50% from beyond the arc and 75% from the line while dishing out a team-leading 31 assists.
Truman is fourth in Division II in team field goal percentage at 48% and fifth in the country in three-point field goal percentage at 43%.
Norton leads Truman with 18 three-pointers and a 47% three-point average; she is also second on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game.
California Baptist (6-1; 1-0 PWC) is in their final year of reclassifying to Division II from the NAIA and finished second in the Pac West conference last season with a 22-7 record.
The Lancers have won four straight including a 72-37 dismantling of Cal State Dominguez Hills in their last game on December 5th.
Five players average in double-figures for California Baptist with returning all-Pac West senior Myriah Hicks leading the way at 12.0 points per game.
Hicks played her freshman season in the MIAA at Missouri Southern and was in two games against Truman during the 2009-10 season.
Vanguard (5-0) is ranked third in the latest NAIA Division I coaches poll. They last defeated fourth-ranked Westminster (Utah) 73-51on December 8 at home. They are first in the NAIA in scoring margin (+15.8), first in assist/turnover ratio and second in offensive rebounds.
Nicole Ballestero leads the team and is seventh in NAIA in scoring at 20.2 points per game while senior Esther Timmermans is a returning honorable mention all-America and is second in the nation with 12.6 rebounds per game.Vanguard will play Southwest Baptist (Mo.) on Monday night prior to Truman's game with California Baptist.
This will be the first meeting between Truman and both institutions.
It is also Truman's first trip to southern California since a four-game "Surf and Slam" tournament played in San Diego in December of 1993.
Truman went 2-2 on that trip with wins against Queens (N.Y.) and Wisconsin-Stevens Point and losses to Presbyterian (S.C.) and Alaska-Anchorage.
Truman is 1-3 against teams from the Golden State.
They have a win against Cal State Stanislaus and losses to California-Davis and Sacramento State in 1990.
They lost to Chapman in the 1982 South Central regional of the NCAA tournament in Pershing Arena 49-46.
Coaches:The Bulldogs are under fifth-year head coach Michael Smith who has an overall record of 54-61.
He is fourth all-time in victories at Truman and is 21-10 in non-conference games. Smith was previously at Division I, Arkansas-Little Rock is a graduate of Central Methodist (Mo.) and a graduate assistant at Northwest Missouri State.
Jarrod Olson is in his first season at California Baptist after spending the six previous years at Division II Florida Southern.
He led the Moccasins to back-to-back 24 win season in 2011 and 2012 and was in the national tournament last year.
He has a 113-61 mark and is a graduate of Doane (Neb.) College and was an assistant women's coach at Creighton (Neb.).
Vanguard is led by 17-year veteran Russ Davis.
He is a seven-time Golden State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and enters the tournament with 398 career wins. In his 17 years,
Davis' teams has averaged 26 wins and less than seven losses per year and won the 2008 NAIA Division I championship.
Truman was not listed in the WBCA/USA Today Division II Coaches Poll this week after receiving votes the previous two weeks.
The Bulldogs received votes in three polls last season. The last national ranking was in 1999-2000 season.
The Bulldogs are first in the MIAA in three-point shooting (43%) and first in the league in defensive rebounds per game (28.8/g).
They are second in the league and fourth in the nation in field goal percentage (48.9%) and second in the conference in three-point defense (30.1%), free throw percentage (73%) and rebounding margin (+6.3/g).
This was the 10th time and second straight year Truman women's basketball has started the season 6-1.
They have won eight of their first nine games on three separate occasions, 2011-12, 2007-08 and 1998-99.
Becka McHenry is eight assists away from 300 for her career and would be the sixth Bulldog to achieve that mark.
Jennifer Conway is four blocks away from tying Sarah Sommer (2002-05) for third all-time with 88.
Allie Norton has led the team in game scoring three times this year and is the only Bulldog to score 20 points in a game (season opener against McKendree)
. McHenry has scored in double-figures 42 career times and has seven 20+ point games.
Courtesy Truman State University