Walz to stage a fourth-straight GPAC women's hoops title game

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 1, 2020 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – Walz Arena has become a familiar landing spot for the GPAC women’s basketball tournament title game. The 2020 championship clash is set to tip off at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday from Walz, where the second-ranked Bulldogs are a perfect 15-0 this season. Concordia will welcome rival Hastings to Seward for a matchup of two 30-win squads. Head coach Drew Olson’s squad made it to this point via postseason wins over eighth-seeded Midland in the quarterfinals and fourth-seeded Dordt in the semifinals.

GPAC Championship Game

Tuesday, March 3 vs. (4) Hastings, 7 p.m.
Walz Arena | Seward, Neb.
--Live Webcast/Stats | 104.9 Max Country
--Admission: $10 for adults/senior citizens, $3 for K-12; only those with NAIA passes and GPAC student ID’s will be admitted free of charge.

The achievements continue to stack up for a consistently excellent program. The current senior class has been a part of four-straight seasons with at least 30 wins and a combined total of 135 victories (average of 33.8 per season). During that time, the Bulldogs are a sparkling 62-1 at home. The short term goal is to lock up a fourth-straight GPAC tournament title to go along with four GPAC regular-season championships in a row. No other conference team had ever swept GPAC regular-season/postseason titles in back-to-back campaigns before Concordia’s current unrivaled run of dominance. Since the start of the 2016-17 season, the Bulldogs are 78-6 in GPAC regular-season games and 11-0 in GPAC tournament contests.

Plenty of players have contributed to the current postseason run. The pesky press forced Midland into 34 turnovers and bothered 12th-ranked Dordt into 35 giveaways. In the quarterfinal blowout of the Warriors, sophomore Mackenzie Koepke poured in a career high 19 points while draining four treys. Over the past two outings, point guard Grace Barry has totaled a combined 32 points and 13 assists. Meanwhile, All-American Philly Lammers notched 10 points versus Midland and 17 against Dordt to run her career total to 1,998 points. She is on the cusp of joining Bailey Morris (2,054 points) as the only two players in program history to reach 2,000 career points.

This will mark the sixth time that Olson has led Concordia to the GPAC tournament championship game. The Bulldogs are a perfect 5-0 in the previous title tilts with three wins over Dakota Wesleyan and two over Morningside. Prior to Olson’s tenure, the program also reached the GPAC title game in 2004 and 2005.

Previous GPAC Championship Games
2019 – vs. Dakota Wesleyan | W, 75-63
2018 – vs. Dakota Wesleyan | W, 90-88
2017 – vs. Dakota Wesleyan | W, 78-77 (OT)
2015 – at Morningside | W, 80-72
2012 – vs. Morningside | W, 73-66
2005 – at Morningside | W, 47-35
2004 – at Morningside | L, 63-76

Never before have Concordia and Hastings met in the GPAC tournament title game. The two sides split their regular-season matchups with the home team winning both times. Head coach Jina Douglas presides over a stifling defensive team. The Broncos are also adept at turning over their opponents and allow only 57.9 points per game. Veteran Hastings starts four seniors, including star point guard Shandra Farmer. The Broncos have reached the GPAC final for the first time since 2010 when they defeated Northwestern to win the trophy.

Both teams are likely to be No. 1 seeds (regardless of Tuesday’s outcome) in the NAIA Division II bracket set to be released on Wednesday. The national tournament will run March 11-17 in Sioux City, Iowa.

Projected Lineups

Concordia (30-2, 21-1 GPAC)
G – Grace Barry, Sr., 5-7 (13.8)
G – Riley Sibbel, Sr., 5-9 (6.2)
G – Mackenzie Koepke, So., 6-1 (8.4)
F – Colby Duvel, Sr., 5-9 (8.2)
F – Philly Lammers, Sr., 5-11 (13.7)

Hastings (30-2, 20-2 GPAC
G – Shandra Farmer, Sr., 5-6 (13.5)
G – Emma Grenfell, Sr., 5-6 (7.7)
G – Kaitlyn Schmit, Jr., 5-6 (9.8)
G – Sophia Pankratz, Sr., 5-7 (11.2)
F – Gabby Grasso, Sr., 5-11 (11.8)

2020 GPAC Women’s Basketball Tournament

GPAC Quarterfinals – Wednesday, Feb. 26
(1) Concordia def. (8) Midland, 95-46
(4) Dordt def. (5) Dakota Wesleyan, 75-55
(3) Morningside def. (6) Northwestern, 90-87 (OT)
(2) Hastings def. (7) Jamestown, 77-49

GPAC Semifinals – Saturday, Feb. 29
(1) Concordia def. (4) Dordt, 94-79
(2) Hastings def. (3) Morningside, 65-44

GPAC Championship – Tuesday, March 3
(2) Hastings at (1) Concordia, 7 p.m.