Concordia meets Morningside in Tuesday’s national title tilt
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The most significant game in the history of the Concordia University women’s basketball program will play out inside the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa, on Tuesday night. For the fourth time this season, GPAC powers collide when the third-ranked Bulldogs (35-2) clash with top-ranked Morningside (36-1) with a national title trophy on the line. Tipoff is slated for 7:02 p.m. CDT.
The last time the two teams met, Concordia celebrated a GPAC tournament title with an 80-72 victory on the Mustangs’ home floor. Both squads are plenty familiar with each other’s tendencies.
“We know each other so well,” Olson said. “We know what they’re going to do. They know what we’re going to do. It’s going to be a great battle.”
No. 3 Concordia (35-2) vs. No. 1 Morningside (36-1)
Tuesday, March 17 | 7:02 p.m. CDT
Sioux City, Iowa | Tyson Events Center
Live broadcast: ESPN3.com
Live stats: Dakstats
Tickets: available at arena ticket office or via tysoncenter.com
*Doors open to the public at 5 p.m.
Road to the title game
First round: Bryan College, 76-35
Second round: No. 14 College of Saint Mary, 92-82
Quarterfinals: No. 10 Jamestown, 76-59
Semifinals: No. 19 Briar Cliff, 72-62
First round: UC Merced, 79-45
Second round: No. 17 Oklahoma Wesleyan, 74-66
Quarterfinals: No. 9 Saint Francis, 79-62
Semifinals: No. 12 Hastings, 66-63
- Concordia is now 22-13 all-time in its 14 national tournament appearances. The 2015 championships marked the fourth time that the Bulldogs have reached the national semifinals (2003, 2005, 2012, 2015). Concordia is making its first-ever appearance in the national championship game.
- Two-time GPAC player of the year Bailey Morris has played in each of the team’s last 10 national tournament games. At the 2015 event, Morris is leading the Bulldogs in scoring with an average of 18.5 points per game. Her 34 points in the second round win over 14th-ranked College of Saint Mary are a single game high for individuals at the 2015 tournament. She came up just short of a triple-double with her line of 12 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in Monday’s semifinal win over Briar Cliff. In her career, Morris has averaged 13.5 points per game at the national tournament. Over 135 career games, Morris has totaled 2,040 points. She eclipsed the 2,000-point mark in the win over Saint Mary.
- Senior Tracy Peitz, a third team All-American last season, has tallied at least 12 points in each of her last five national tournament games. She recorded her first double-double on the national stage by putting up 13 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Briar Cliff. She ranks second on the team to Morris in scoring at the 2015 national tournament with an average of 15.8 points per game. She has also averaged 7.3 rebounds over the past four contests.
- Concordia has advanced to the title game by winning each of its four national tournament games by 10 points or more. The Bulldogs are averaging 79.0 points during the tournament and their 92 points in the win over Saint Mary broke a program record for single-game scoring on the national stage. On the other end, Concordia opponents have averaged only 59.5 points during the 2015 tournament.
- Head coach Drew Olson is in the midst of his seventh appearance at the national tournament in nine seasons at the helm of the program. He owns a national championships record of 11-6. He ranks No. 1 among Concordia women’s basketball coaches all-time in overall wins (226), conference wins (122), national tournament wins (11) and national tournament appearances (seven). He has guided the Bulldogs to two GPAC regular-season titles and two GPAC tournament trophies.
- Mary Janovich, the program’s first-ever GPAC freshman of the year, has averaged 13.5 points per game at the national tournament. She has gone 12-for-20 from 3-point range over the past four contests. Going back further, Janovich has made 26 of 44 shots (.591) from beyond the arc in her last 12 games.
- Concordia has moved up to No. 35 nationally among all NAIA Division II teams in field goal percentage defense (.369). At the national tournament, Bulldog opponents have gone 77-for-231 (.333) from the field. Bryan College’s 17.2 field goal percentage marked a season low for Concordia foes.
- With three victories over ranked opponents at the national tournament, Concordia now owns 13 wins this season over top 25 squads. The Bulldogs have defeated teams ranked Nos. 1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17 (twice), 19, 21 and 25. Concordia has wins over five of the other seven squads that advanced to the national quarterfinals.
- Off the bench, senior Jericca Pearson has averaged 10.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game during the 2015 national tournament. She has played in nine career games on the national stage. She missed last season’s first-round loss to Olivet Nazarene due to injury. Seniors Morris, Peitz and Kelsey Hizer have played in all 10 Concordia national tournament games the past four seasons.
- Morningside, 34-9 all-time at the national tournament, is seeking its fourth national title in four appearances in the final game. Head coach Jamie Sale led the program to national titles in 2004, 2005 and 2009. With first team all-conference post Ashlynn Muhl sidelined for the entire tournament, the Mustangs have gotten a big four games from 6-foot-2 junior Jessica Tietz, who leads the team in scoring (15.5 ppg) and ranks a close second in rebounding (7.3 rpg) at the 2015 event.
- No Concordia University athletics team has ever won a national title. In 2005 the Bulldog men’s basketball team, under head coach Grant Schmidt, reached the NAIA Division II championship game and fell, 81-70, to Walsh University (Ohio.). National runner-up finishes have also been achieved by Concordia men’s cross country (2009), women’s cross country (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004), men’s indoor track and field (2000) and women’s outdoor track and field (1989).