Seventh-ranked Concordia hosts Midland in Wednesday GPAC quarterfinal

Seventh-ranked Concordia hosts Midland in Wednesday GPAC quarterfinal

GPAC tournament pairings

SEWARD, Neb. – The seventh-ranked Concordia women’s basketball team begins its postseason push on Wednesday when it hosts Midland (15-15, 11-9 GPAC) at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs finished the regular season at 24-6 overall and 16-4 in conference play, tying for its second regular-season championship over the past three seasons.

Because of tiebreaker rules, Concordia slots into the No. 4 spot for tournament seeding purposes. The Warriors finished alone in fifth place.

Game info
-Walz Arena | Seward, Neb. | Wed., Feb. 26 | 7 p.m.
-Live webcast (Concordia Sports Network)
-Play-by-play: Frank Greene
-First 300 students will be admitted free of charge

Bulldogs dominate series vs. Midland
Head coach Drew Olson’s program has defeated Midland in 11-straight meetings dating back to January of 2009. The Warriors’ 75-71 win over the Bulldogs on Jan. 13, 2009 snapped a 14-game winning streak for Concordia in the series. Since the GPAC began with the 2000-01 season, the Bulldogs boast a record of 25-3 against their rival from Fremont. In addition, Midland has not won in Seward since December of 2000, a stretch of 13 meetings in a row.

However, this year’s first two matchups have been decided by a total of nine points with Concordia eking out a one-point victory in Seward on Feb. 12.

Last 10 meetings:
2/12/14 – Concordia 78-77 (Seward)
1/8/14 – Concordia 82-74 (Fremont)
1/16/13 – Concordia 80-49 (Fremont)
11/27/12 – Concordia 110-65 (Seward)
1/17/12 – Concordia 79-67 (Seward)
11/29/11 – Concordia 67-54 (Fremont)
1/19/11 – Concordia 63-62 (Seward)
11/23/10 – Concordia 81-72 (Fremont)
1/20/10 – Concordia 73-69 (Seward)
11/24/09 – Concordia 75-43 (Fremont) 

Concordia aims for program’s fourth GPAC tournament title
In the 13-year history of the GPAC women’s basketball tournament, Concordia holds an all-time record of 16-10 with three tournament titles. The most recent championship came in 2012 as the Bulldogs swept the conference regular-season and tournament titles. Additional GPAC postseason championships came in 2004 and 2005 under then head coach Todd Voss. Concordia has won the championship each of the three times it has advanced to the title game.

Olson, now in his eighth season as head coach, holds a GPAC tournament record of 8-6. He has advanced to the semifinals in six of his first seven seasons with the only tournament title appearance coming in 2012.

Wednesday’s game will be the first time the Bulldogs have met Midland in a conference tournament game.

Morris the ‘scoring machine’
KLKN-TV fittingly dubbed Bulldog point guard Bailey Morris a “scoring machine” during its feature last week on the 5-foot-4 point guard. Morris leads the GPAC in scoring at 19.2 points per game, an average that ranks as the best for a Concordia women’s basketball player since Shelly Poppe went for 19.3 per game in 1987-88. Over the last 11 games, Morris is averaging 23.5 points per game and has gone over 20 points in seven of those contests.

During that same stretch, the Roseland, Neb., native has posted two of the top five single-game scoring efforts in school history (see below). Her 45-point outburst in the Feb. 15 win over Northwestern broke Amber Kistler’s school record. Morris, who has 556 points on the season, has an outside shot of breaking Poppe’s program record of 664 points in a season (1986-87).

Most points, one game (Concordia history)
1. Bailey Morris – 45 (Feb. 15, 2014, Northwestern)
2. Amber Kistler – 37 (Feb. 8, 2012, Briar Cliff)
T3. Whitney Stichka – 35 (Feb. 17, 2007, Sioux Falls)
T3. Joe Bartels – 35 (1983-84 season)
T5. Bailey Morris – 34 (Feb. 8, 2014, Dakota Wesleyan)
T5. Whitney Stichka – 34 (Feb. 6, 2008, Midland)

Mueller states case for freshman honors

Freshman Becky Mueller equaled a career high with 23 points in Concordia’s loss at then No. 7 Morningside over the weekend. That performance boosted the Elkhorn, Neb., native’s season scoring average to 10.6, fourth best among GPAC freshmen (see below). Mueller has been a big reason why the Bulldogs have been able to overcome injuries to key players and win a GPAC title. She is shooting 39.3 percent from 3-point range while adding 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game. She has started all 30 games and has posted double-figure point totals on 17 occasions.

GPAC freshmen scoring leaders
1. Logan Wagner, Mount Marty – 12.8
2. Hanah Barnard, Doane – 11.8
3. Sammi Licari, Midland – 11.1
4. Becky Mueller, Concordia – 10.6
5. Lexi Ackerman, Morningside – 10.2

Scouting Midland
The Warriors have improved significantly compared to the past several seasons. Under first-year head coach Shawn Gilbert, Midland has won four games against ranked opponents, including victories over teams currently ranked sixth (Morningside) and 12th (College of Saint Mary). Midland has a tremendous backcourt duo of junior Jamilah Johnson (14.8 ppg) and freshman Sammi Licari (11.1 ppg). Gilbert’s squad will try to slow the Bulldogs down with a defensive team that ranks third in the GPAC in fewest points allowed per game (69.6).

25 February 2014

Junior Kelsey Hizer