Reigning champs begin 2020-21 ranked second in GPAC, 11th nationally

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 14, 2020 in Women's Basketball

Preseason Polls: GPAC | NAIA

SEWARD, Neb. – Winners of each of the past four GPAC regular-season and postseason championships, and the 2019 NAIA Division II national championship, the Concordia University Women’s Basketball program will not begin 2020-21 as the preseason conference favorite. In polls released on Wednesday (Oct. 14), the Bulldogs were placed at No. 2 in the GPAC and at No. 11 in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. NAIA basketball has moved to one division for 2020-21.

In the 2020-21 GPAC Preseason Poll, Concordia garnered five first-place votes and 110 total points. That put it just behind Dordt, which received six first-place votes and 113 points. Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad just missed the national top 10 while generating 413 points. The Bulldogs had been the GPAC preseason favorite in each of the previous three seasons (2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20). Olson’s program completed the past two seasons as the No. 1-ranked team in NAIA Division II. The NAIA used a two-division format for basketball from the 1991-92 through 2019-20 seasons.

Now entering his 15th season as head coach, Olson is tasked with replacing a decorated senior class that featured All-Americans Grace Barry and Philly Lammers as well as fellow starters in Colby Duvel and Riley Sibbel. Fortunately, Taylor Cockerill (leading scorer from the national championship season) has returned from injury and the Bulldogs also welcome back second team All-GPAC performer Mackenzie Koepke.

Among former NAIA Division II members, Concordia is ranked fourth nationally behind No. 3 Marian (Ind.), No. 7 Southeastern (Fla.) and No. 8 Dordt. Former NAIA Division I squads Westmont (Calif.) and Wayland Baptist (Texas) hold down the Nos. 1 and 2 spots in the national rankings. Morningside (ranked 24th) joined Dordt and Concordia as GPAC schools appearing in the top 25.

The Bulldogs are slated to open their season at the annual Cattle Classic set to run Nov. 6-7 inside Walz Arena. The two opponents will be Carroll College (Mont.) and Bellevue University.