For 10-straight years, the Concordia University Women’s Basketball program made itself a home inside the NAIA top 25 national rankings. A streak of 97-consecutive NAIA coaches’ poll appearances ended this week when the Bulldogs were omitted from the latest top 25 ranking. Head Coach Drew Olson’s program will attempt to begin a new streak in the near future while now unranked for the first time since the close of the 2010-11 season.
To date, the period of the 2010s has represented the winningest decade in the history of Bulldog Women’s Basketball. The numbers, the memories and the moments have put Olson’s program among the elites in all of college basketball.
By the numbers
· 97-straight NAIA coaches’ top 25 poll appearances (spanned the entire 2011-12 through 2019-20 seasons).
· Out of the 97 poll appearances, Concordia earned the No. 1 ranking 16 times, a top five ranking 63 times and a top 10 ranking 88 times. The Bulldogs finished inside the top five of NAIA Division II in 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
· During the length of the poll streak, Concordia posted an overall record of 284-46. The Bulldogs recorded 30+ wins in six separate seasons.
· Six senior classes in a row played their entire careers for nationally-ranked Bulldog teams.
· Twelve players reached the 1,000-point mark in their careers: Bailey Morris (2,054), Philly Lammers (2,033), Quinn Wragge (1,776), Kristen Conahan (1,656), Katie Rich (1,293), Tracy Peitz (1,277), Mary Janovich (1,159), Dani Hoppes (1,148), Taylor Cockerill (1,104), Grace Barry (1,081), Becky Mueller (1,071) and Brenleigh Daum (1,014).
· Two players scored 40 or more points in a single game:
o Bailey Morris – 45 vs. Northwestern (2/15/04)
o Taylor Cockerill – 40 vs. Indiana Wesleyan (10/26/18)
· Concordia claimed a total of 11 GPAC championships (six regular season, five postseason).
· Qualified for the national tournament each season and reached the national title game in 2015, 2018 and 2019; won the 2019 national title and made a total of five national semifinal appearances.
There were multiple significant and memorable victories in every season during the poll streak, but to narrow it down …
· 3/3/20 – def. No. 4 Hastings, 60-49, in GPAC tournament championship game. With the win, the Bulldogs pushed their unprecedented string of GPAC regular season/postseason title sweeps to four years in a row. Little did members of the team know at the time, but Concordia would not get the opportunity to defend its national title (due to the COVID-19 cancellation).
· 3/12/19 – def. No. 2 Southeastern (Fla.), 67-59, in NAIA Division II national championship game. After years of coming up short of the ultimate goal, Concordia finally cut down the final net behind national tournament MVP Grace Barry. The 82-79 semifinal win over Northwestern was also a memorable clash.
· 2/27/18 – def. No. 8 Dakota Wesleyan, 90-88, in GPAC tournament championship game. Brenleigh Daum scored 21 points and lifted the Bulldogs to victory with a driving layup just before the buzzer. Concordia defeated DWU three times this season (we won’t discuss the fourth meeting).
· 12/19/17 – def. No. 4 College of the Ozarks, 103-101 (OT). For a regular-season game, this was about as good as it gets. Quinn Wragge tied the game with a trey in the final seconds of regulation in Point Lookout, Mo., before Taylor Cockerill made the big shots in overtime.
· 2/28/17 – def. No. 9 Dakota Wesleyan, 78-77 (OT), in GPAC tournament championship game. An intense rivalry with DWU got some added juice with this nail-biter. This was the first of three-straight years that saw the Bulldogs meet the Tigers in the conference tournament final.
· 3/3/15 – def. No. 1 Morningside, 80-72, in GPAC tournament championship game. This was especially significant in that it would wind up being Morningside’s lone loss of the entire season. Then freshman Mary Janovich topped the Bulldogs with 17 points as Concordia defeated the Mustangs in the GPAC championship game for the second time in four years.
· 2/15/14 – def. No. 3 Northwestern, 89-78. Another regular-season affair, this was the game Bailey Morris really became a Concordia legend. She dropped a still-intact single-game school record of 45 points. Morris went 12-for-26 from the field and 17-for-18 from the free throw line.
· 3/10/12 – def. No. 7 Grand View (Iowa), 80-68, in NAIA Division II national quarterfinals. The victory marked Drew Olson’s first national semifinal appearance as head coach. The 2011-12 season marked the beginning of the program’s rise to elite status under Olson.
· 2/28/12 – def. No. 5 Morningside, 73-66, in GPAC tournament title game. This victory completed a sweep of GPAC regular season/postseason championships. The Bulldogs held Morningside to 30.9 percent shooting in the win.
Of the very few losses during the poll streak, the national championship game defeats at the hands of rivals Dakota Wesleyan (2018) and Morningside (2015) stand out. So too does the 85-83 double overtime loss at Big East member Creighton University on Oct. 22, 2019, in what was an exhibition game.
As part of the run, Olson’s teams have knocked off opponents from every level of collegiate hoops – NAIA, NCAA Division I, II and III. Not mentioned above, the Bulldogs have dominated the Concordia Invitational Tournament. They will carry a 14-game CIT win streak into 2022 when the event resumes after a one-year hiatus.
· NAIA Division II National Player of the Year – Bailey Morris (2015)
· NAIA Division II National Tournament MVP – Grace Barry (2019)
· GPAC Players of the Year – Philly Lammers (2019), Bailey Morris (2014 / 2015)
· GPAC Defensive Players of the Year – Philly Lammers (2020), Mary Janovich (2017), Tracy Peitz (2014), Katie Rich (2012 / 2013)
· Drew Olson was named the GPAC Coach of the Year in 2012, 2017 and 2018. Olson also earned particularly notable honors in 2018 when he was named the United States Marine Corps/WBCA NAIA National Coach of the Year and in 2019 when he was chosen as the NAIA’s Phyllis Holmes National Coach of the Year.