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Concordia draws Goshen College at national tournament

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 2, 2016 in Women's Basketball

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SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia women’s basketball program remains a fixture at the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championships. On Wednesday tenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad learned that it would be the 15th team in school history to qualify for the national tournament. The fourth-seeded Bulldogs (ranked 16th in the national poll) received an at-large bid and will take on fifth-seeded Goshen College (Ind.) at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9 in the first round of the bracket.

It will be the eighth national tournament trip for Olson, who has guided Concordia to the national stage in five years running. The 2015-16 Midlands/State College Coach of the Year especially liked how his team followed its 2015 national runner-up run after several star players departed.

“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 (Mueller) obviously a key part of our team, but we lost a lot of really good players from last year. Then we lost Mary (Janovich) 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.”

Concordia has enjoyed another 20-plus win season while riding the hot hand of freshman Quinn Wragge, who was named a first team all-conference selection earlier on Wednesday. She enters her first national tournament leading the Bulldogs in scoring, rebounding, steals, blocks and field goal percentage. Along with Wragge’s consistency, Concordia has relied on the long ball (ranked fifth nationally in 3-point field goals per game) in putting together another season worthy of a journey to Sioux City.

The Bulldogs will have gone 13-straight days without playing a game by the time they take the court at the Tyson Events Center on March 9. Olson believes the off time since his team’s GPAC quarterfinal loss at Briar Cliff has been beneficial. The Bulldogs have enjoyed a chance to recharge for a new season.

“We got to have a weekend off and our kids were able to go home and rest,” Olson said. “Our practices since then have been awesome. There’s been a lot of energy – playing hard, competing. It’s gone back to being like preseason practices. You can just see the confidence coming back. I think we’re in a really good spot.”

Olson and his staff will now begin to familiarize themselves with Goshen, a member of the Crossroads League. Located in Goshen, Ind., the Maple Leafs are making their second all-time national tournament appearance. They will bring a 24-8 overall record to Sioux City. Goshen, ranked No. 18 in the final coaches’ poll, fell to the Crossroads tournament champion, Indiana Wesleyan, in the semifinals of its league tourney. Four players average 10 points or more for the Maple Leafs, whose leading scorer is senior Tyra Carver (12.4).

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, March 11.

The national tournament field is comprised of 22 automatic berths and 10 at-large selections. Automatic qualification is given to conference regular-season champions, tournament champions or tournament runners-up depending on the league. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released today.

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.