Main View Tip-Off Classic raises 2016-17 curtain

Main View Tip-Off Classic raises 2016-17 curtain

A four-team field converges upon Stauffer-Wolfe Arena Friday and Saturday, Nov. 18 and 19, for the fourth annual Main View Tip-Off Classic.

Tournament information: The host Manchester University Spartans, the Benedictine University Eagles of Lisle, Ill., the Oglethorpe University of Atlanta, Ga., Stormy Petrels, and the St. Mary's College of Notre Dame, Ind., Belles make up the 2016 tournament. It's the season opener for the Black and Gold, while Benedictine, Oglethorpe each began their campaigns earlier this week … MU takes on St. Mary's at 7 p.m. Friday and Benedictine at 3 p.m. Saturday. Live audio, statistics and video for all four games can be accessed via links at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics.

Spartan Shorts: Coach Josh Dzurick's program is 4-2 in the event's three-year history, winning the championship in 2014. MU reached the final a year ago with a 61-59 thriller in the semifinals over Carroll College of Wisconsin before falling to NCAA Division III perennial power Wisconsin-Whitewater in the title tilt … The 2016-17 edition of the Spartans was picked eighth on the 2016 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coaches' poll, released late last month. Manchester University has the resume to climb past the prognostication, though, as three of the top five scorers, three of the top four rebounders, the top field goal shooter and the second-leading percentages from the charity stripe and beyond the arc are back on the roster. Senior guard Jenifer Lee (Rockville, Ind.), who has played in 20-or-more games in each of her three previous seasons, headlines the squad after averaging better than six points and just under three rebounds a contest to go with the 2015-16 team's second-best three-point field goal percentage (31.7) as a junior. Joining Lee is the junior forward tandem of Samantha Bolen (Greenwood, Ind.) and Tori Christlieb (Culver, Ind.). Bolen, who started 23 of 25 games played a year ago, averaged nine points and 3.3 rebounds per outing while hitting better than 76 percent from the free throw line, and Christlieb hit a team-leading 43.5 percent from the field and grabbed a squad-best 6.2 rebounds per game as part of a sophomore season in which she averaged nearly seven points per appearance. Sophomore center/forward Maddy Minehart (Auburn, Ind.) has proven valuable on the inside, too, as she hit 43.4 percent from the field as part of averages of more than five points and nearly four rebounds per contest last winter. Fellow sophomores Faith-Alexis Graham (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Beth Schaefer (Fort Wayne, Ind.) also have game experience on their side, as Graham was the squad assist leader (2.7 pg), and Schaefer's four boards per outing ranked third last winter with each of them playing in 20-or-more games … This weekend's games are the only two for the Spartans on their home Stan Weller Court honoring Coaches Hoffman and Wolfe during the season's opening month. They take to the road beginning Tuesday, Nov. 22, for a five-game road trip that begins with the second of three match-ups against the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, as they face off against perennial national power Calvin College at Grand Rapids, Mich., Tuesday, Nov. 22. They follow that clash up with two dates at North Park College of Illinois' Thanksgiving Classic against the host Vikings and North Central College of Naperville, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 26, and Sunday, Nov. 27, and then open the conference slate at Hanover Saturday, Dec. 3, and Defiance Wednesday, Dec. 7, before returning home for a doubleheader with the men's team against Mt. St. Joseph Saturday, Dec. 10.