No. 13 Morningside to visit Walz in semifinal clash

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 22, 2018 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – Two perennial league powers are set to meet on the hardwood this Saturday as part of a GPAC semifinal clash inside Walz Arena. The ball will tip off at 3 p.m. CT in Seward where the second-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team will host No. 13 Morningside. The Bulldogs cruised to an 80-64 quarterfinal win over Briar Cliff while the Mustangs won a heart stopper, 69-67, at No. 12 Hastings. It was the only GPAC quarterfinal contest that resulted in a road team emerging victorious.

Saturday, Feb. 24
No. 13 Morningside (21-10) at No. 2 Concordia (30-1), 3 p.m.
Seward, Neb. | Walz Arena
Admission: $8 for adults, $3 for students (GPAC students free with ID)
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network
Radio: 104.9 Max Country

For the sixth time in program history and for the fourth time under 12th-year head coach Drew Olson, Concordia has reached the 30-win mark. The latest victory featured strong play in the post that overcome the Bulldogs’ 5-for-28 efforts from 3-point range. The frontcourt trio of Philly Lammers (23 points, 14 rebounds, five steals), Colby Duvel (15 points, four rebounds) and Quinn Wragge (12 points, seven rebounds) combined for 50 points. Just a sophomore, Lammers has already surpassed 500 career rebounds and is nearing the top 20 in school history in that category (21st).

From a competitive standpoint, the two meetings this season between Concordia and Morningside have been vastly different. The matchup at Walz was decided before the fourth quarter started. The Bulldogs rattled off 32 points in the fourth quarter and rolled to a 95-64 win behind Lammers (15 points, 14 rebounds). Just over a month later, Concordia played in Sioux City without the services of Mary Janovich and grinded out an 88-80 road win. Both squads are capable of playing multiple defensive styles. The Mustangs shook things up by going to man-to-man in the Feb. 10 contest at Morningside.

Head coach Jamie Sale’s program is no stranger to deep postseason runs. Sale has led the Mustangs to four national titles and to 14 GPAC championships (nine regular season, five tournaments) during his first 16 years at the helm of the program. Morningside’s hopes of another tournament championship are bolstered by the GPAC’s leading scorer, Madison Braun (20.6 ppg). In the Mustangs’ quarterfinal squeaker at Hastings, sophomore Sydney Hupp played the role of hero. Her basket with two seconds left proved to be the game winner. It marked the fourth time this season that Morningside defeated a team with national ranking at the time of tipoff.

A win on Saturday would allow the Bulldogs to host a GPAC tournament championship game for the third time in program history. Concordia protected the home court in conference title game wins over Morningside in 2012 and over Dakota Wesleyan in 2016. Road championship victories were recorded at Morningside in 2005 and 2015.

Should the Bulldogs advance to Tuesday’s (Feb. 27) championship game, they would host the winner between second-seeded Northwestern (22-7) and third-seeded Dakota Wesleyan (26-5) at 7 p.m. CT.

2018 GPAC Women’s Basketball Tournament

Quarterfinals – Wednesday, Feb. 21
No. 1 Concordia 80, No. 8 Briar Cliff 64
No. 5 Morningside 69, No. 4 Hastings 67
No. 3 Dakota Wesleyan 72, No. 6 Midland 43
No. 2 Northwestern 75, No. 7 Dordt 64

Semifinals – Saturday, Feb. 24
No. 5 Morningside (21-10) at No. 1 Concordia (30-1), 3 p.m.
No. 3 Dakota Wesleyan (26-5) at No. 2 Northwestern (22-7), 2 p.m.

Championship – Tuesday, Feb. 27
Hosted by highest remaining seed, Time TBA

Projected lineups

Concordia (30-1)
G – MacKenzie Helman: 4.5 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.2 rpg, 1.6 spg, .345 fg%, .340 3-pt fg%
G – Dani Hoppes: 10.2 ppg, 1.7 spg, 1.6 rpg, .397 fg%, .372 3-pt fg%, .632 ft%
G – Mary Janovich: 9.7 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.3 rpg, 1.9 spg, .518 fg%, .460 3-pt fg%, .844 ft%
F – Quinn Wragge: 12.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.6 spg, .612 fg%, .812 ft%
F – Philly Lammers: 12.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.4 spg, 1.2 bpg, .497 fg%, .731 ft%

Morningside (21-10)
G – Madison Braun: 20.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.1 spg, 2.1 apg, .490 fg%, .455 3-pt fg%, .857 ft%
G – Sierra Mitchell: 12.0 ppg, 1.6 apg, 1.6 rpg, .386 fg%, .366 3-pt fg%, .844 ft%
G – Jordyn Moser: 6.4 ppg, 3.4 apg, 1.9 rpg, 1.2 spg, .453 fg%, .346 3-pt fg%, .729 ft%
F – Rachell Housh: 4.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.0 apg, .376 fg%, .274 3-pt fg%, .667 ft%
F – Sydney Hupp: 11.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.2 spg, 0.9 bpg, .550 fg%, .765 ft%