Bulldogs take national tournament stage on Wednesday

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 8, 2016 in Women's Basketball

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SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University women’s basketball program will make its 15th all-time national tournament appearance on Wednesday when it tips off in first-round action against No. 18 Goshen College (Ind.) at 12 p.m. It will be just the second trip to nationals for the Maple Leafs, a member of the Crossroads League. Tenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s Bulldogs are coming off a national runner-up finish in 2015.

(4) Concordia (22-9) vs. (5) Goshen (24-8)
Wednesday, March 7 | 12 p.m. CT
Sioux City, Iowa | Tyson Events Center
Watch live: Stretch Internet (fee required)
Radio: 104.9 Max Country (Matt Harab)
Stats: Dakstats

Concordia has not played since a 76-69 loss at No. 12 Briar Cliff in the GPAC quarterfinals on Feb. 24. A fresh Bulldog squad will make its way to Sioux City mostly healthy, save for Mary Janovich, who suffered a torn ACL that ended her season on Jan. 18. In her absence, freshman Quinn Wragge has risen to stardom. Last week the native of Crofton, Neb., was named a first team all-conference selection. She leads Concordia in scoring (14.5), rebounding (6.5), steals (1.87), blocks (0.61), field goal percentage (.581) and minutes per game (27.0).

After significant roster turnover following the 2015 national title game appearance, Olson has used a more youthful rotation. His most common starting lineup of late has included Wragge along with junior point guard Shelby Quinn, sophomore guard Brenleigh Daum, junior guard Devin Edwards and senior forward Becky Mueller. Of them, Wragge and Mueller (10.4) are the only players averaging in double figures in scoring for a balanced, 3-point happy roster.

The make-up of the team changed in 2015-16, but Olson has a program that effectively reloads after star players depart.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve done this year so far,” Olson said. “We’ve basically done it with a totally brand new team. We have a few returners. Becky’s obviously a key part of our team, but we lost a lot of really good players from last year. Then we lost Mary and had to reconfigure our team halfway through the season and still made a really good run. It shows what a tough group this is.”

Although less experienced than last season, Concordia has a national tournament roster complete with nine individuals who have played in a combined 38 national tournament games (last season’s squad entered the tournament with 30 collective games on the national stage). Mueller started 34 of 38 games on last year’s powerhouse team. She scored 18 points in the Bulldogs’ national semifinal win over Briar Cliff. Concordia will miss Janovich, who nailed 13-of-24 shots from 3-point range during the 2015 national tournament run.

Wragge hopes to duplicate the kind of success Janovich enjoyed in her first taste of March madness.

“I’m definitely excited for (the national tournament),” Wragge said. “State is one of the best atmospheres. I think being (in Sioux City) will be like that. I’m glad that I have that experience. I also think that CIT helps a little bit. It’s probably a little different, but it’s the kind of crazy atmosphere where everyone is ready to go. I think it will be a lot of fun.”

On the other side, Goshen is aiming for its first-ever win at the national tournament. In their only other trip to nationals, the Maple Leafs were defeated, 72-70, in the first round by College of the Ozarks (Mo.). Fifth-year head coach Stephanie Miller’s features four players who average at least 10 points per game, including leading scorer Tyra Carver (12.4 ppg). While Concordia has played 12 of its 31 games (5-7) versus ranked opponents, Goshen carries a record of 3-6 against top-25 opponents. The three wins have come over No. 3 Marian University (Ind.), No. 8 Indiana Wesleyan University and No. 20 University of Saint Francis (Ind.).

The winner between Concordia and Goshen will advance to the second round to play either top-seeded Saint Xavier University (Ill.) or eighth-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan College at 10:15 a.m. on Friday.

The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will video-stream all 28 games live leading up to the semifinals and final on ESPN3. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament package is available at $29.95. For more information and the pre-register, click here.

For more information on the 2016 NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship, click here.


  • In its first 14 appearances at the national championships, Concordia has posted a record of 22-14 with four trips to the national semifinals and four quarterfinal finishes. The Bulldogs are 9-5 overall in first-round games, including an 8-3 mark in the last 11 first-round contests. All of the program’s 15 national qualifying seasons have come since 1992 – the same year the NAIA split into two divisions for both men’s and women’s basketball.
  • The 2015 national championships saw Concordia advance to the national title game for the first time in program history. National player of the year Bailey Morris led the way, averaging 17.6 points at the tournament in leading the Bulldogs to wins over Bryan College (76-35), College of Saint Mary (92-82), University of Jamestown (76-59) and Briar Cliff (72-62). Concordia was edged in the championship game, 59-57, by top-ranked Morningside.
  • Concordia carries a record of 5-7 this season against teams that have qualified for the national tournament. The five wins have come over Briar Cliff (22-9), Dakota Wesleyan (25-8), Hastings (19-11), Jamestown (29-4) and Mount Marty (22-10). Four of those teams had top-10 national rankings at the time they were defeated by the Bulldogs.
  • Nine of the 14 players on the Bulldogs’ official national tournament roster have prior experience at the national tournament. These nine individuals have combined for 38 career games over appearances from 2013 through 2015. A trio of Bulldogs have played in six national tournament games apiece: Jenna Lehmann, Becky Mueller and Shelby Quinn. Four returners saw time in all five of the 2015 games at the Tyson Events Center: Mary Janovich (currently out with a torn ACL), Laurel Krohn, Mueller and Quinn. Mueller has tallied a total of 53 points in her six games on the national stage. Janovich knocked down 13-of-24 attempts from beyond the arc while averaging 11.4 points during last season’s run to the title game.
  • Morris racked up 149 points over her 11 career national tournament games with her career best at the Tyson Events Center being 34 points in the second-round win over College of Saint Mary in 2015. During that same game, the native of Clay Center, Neb., became the first Bulldog ever to reach 2,000 career points. She finished with 2,054 points during her stellar four seasons in Concordia navy and white.
  • In the program’s first 36 games at the national tournament, the Bulldogs have averaged 71.3 points per game (2,566 total points) while allowing an average of 64.3 points (2,315 total points). The school record for most team points scored in a single tournament game was broken last season in the 92-82 win over College of Saint Mary. The Bulldogs’ stingiest defensive effort occurred in 2005 when they held Western Baptist to just 28 points in a 70-28 first-round victory.
  • Head coach Drew Olson has been at the controls for each of Concordia’s past eight national tournament appearances (including 2016). Olson also helped the Bulldog men to two national tournaments as a player and was part of three such trips to the grand stage as an assistant men’s coach at Bellevue University (Neb.). Assistant coach Marty Kohlwey helped the Concordia men to three national tournament trips during six seasons as an assistant under Grant Schmidt. That run included an appearance in the 2005 national championship game.
  • Olson became the fifth coach in program history to lead the Bulldogs to the national tournament when he made his first appearance as head coach in 2008. Now with eight national tournament appearances, Olson has five more than Todd Voss for the most among head coaches in school history. Here are the all-time records for Bulldog coaches at the national tournament:
    • Drew Olson: 11-7 (eight appearances; one national title game appearance; two Fab Fours; two quarterfinal finishes)
    • Todd Voss: 8-3 (three appearances; two Fab Fours; one quarterfinal finish)
    • Mark Lemke: 2-2 (two appearances; one quarterfinal finish)
    • Micah Parker: 1-1 (one appearance)
    • Carl Everts: 0-1 (one appearance)
  • Concordia has made a living in the NAIA national rankings. It has appeared in 65-straight top 25 polls dating back to the 2011-12 preseason rating. The Bulldogs moved up one spot in this week’s rankings to No. 16. Concordia is aiming to finish a season with a national ranking for the seventh time under Olson. The program’s highest final ranking was No. 2 in 2015.
  • Great Plains Athletic Conference members have won 12 of the last 15 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championships. Northwestern has five national titles during that stretch while Morningside has four and Hastings three. The GPAC had advanced at least two teams into the Fab Four six-straight years until the streak was snapped in 2014. Two or more GPAC teams have reached the semifinals in 13 of the past 15 years. In 2012, Concordia, Briar Cliff and Northwestern all appeared in the semifinals. Then in 2015, the semifinals were GPAC exclusive as Briar Cliff, Concordia, Hastings and Morningside were the last four left standing.