After a long regular season, the playoff push is finally here for the Van Meter girls basketball team. The Bulldogs captured a 13-8 regular-season record with a mark of 11-3 inside West Central Activities Conference play.

That conference mark will be worth noting as one of those conference wins came against their postseason opening opponent in Interstate-35. That win continued the work done by the Bulldogs as they have dominated the all-time series. Van Meter will be seeking their eighth straight victory over the Roadrunners and ninth overall victory over I-35 since 2013. Van Meter has averaged over 53 points per contest against I-35 and has only allowed 30 plus points in four out of the nine meetings.

Of the many things that the Bulldogs have done well this season, Van Meter has been more than solid off the glass averaging a conference third-best 30 rebounds per contest. Against the Roadrunners, in particular, the Bulldogs have averaged nearly 30 rebounds per contest and has kept up an overall solid defensive performance to go along with the strong offensive attack. On an offensive note, the Bulldogs have connected on 40 percent of their shots from field and 26 percent from three-point range while also 54 percent from the free-throw line.

The Bulldogs are led by the senior pair of Clair Lauterbach and Natalie Barth. Averaging 16.6 points per contest, Lauterbach leads the way for Van Meter while also pacing the way from the free-throw line with a team-best 77.9 percent.

“Clair is very talented and just knows what to do out there on the basketball court,” said head coach Jay Olson earlier in the season. “She’s a great teammate, leader, and everything in between.”

Lauterbach also leads the way in steals for the Bulldogs with 57 entering the postseason.

Natalie Barth has been the unquestioned leader in the paint, connecting on 64 percent of her shots inside the three-point arc. She too has been stingy from the charity stripe shooting 62.5 percent. Barth has also been a strong force off the glass, resting behind Jorja Hanselman with 155 total rebounds on the season.

Along the opposition ranks, Van Meter will have to watch out for senior Jaliyah White who averages 10.7 points per game heading into action tonight. White also paces the team in assists with nearly three per game. Carli McCuddin leads the Roadrunners off the glass with 6.5 rebounds per contest.

The battle between the Bulldogs and the Roadrunners will commence from Van Meter High School beginning at 7 p.m tonight.