SEWARD, Neb. – Following a thrilling run to the national title game, the Concordia University women’s basketball team has checked in at No. 2 in the postseason edition of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, released on Wednesday by the NAIA. Ninth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has now appeared in 52-straight national polls, dating back to the 2011-12 preseason rating.
Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Concordia has been ranked inside the top 10 of all but two polls and has garnered top-five national rankings a total of 30 times. The current senior class played every single game for a ranked Bulldog squad over the past four seasons. Since the NAIA initiated the postseason rating following the national tournament in 2012, Concordia has been placed at No. 3 (2011-12), No. 9 (2012-13), No. 13 (2013-14) and No. 2 (2014-15).
The program has held the No. 1 ranking a total of 11 times, including the final seven polls of the 2002-03 season and the first four ratings of the 2012-13 campaign. The 2014-15 Bulldogs became the first in program history to reach the national title game and was the fourth Concordia women’s basketball team to advance to the national semifinals.
In Olson’s nine seasons, six of his teams have ended the season in the top 25 (see below). The program’s all-time winningest coach says that the 2014-15 squad will go down as the best ever in Concordia women’s basketball history.
“It was the most fun I have ever had coaching,” Olson said. “It was an incredible group to work with all season. They were special. They had a togetherness and a collective toughness that is rare. They found ways to win. Most importantly, they were a great group of teammates that loved each other. It’s bittersweet how it ended, but I think we will remember the greatness of the team more. They will go down as the best team ever at Concordia and their accomplishments will be tough to top. I am blessed that God let me coach these seniors the most possible amount of games. I loved every minute with them.”
In a reflection upon her career after the national championship game, NAIA Division II player of the year Bailey Morris also spoke to the special nature of this year’s team.
“I'm proud of everything my teammates did for the teams I was on and the player they pushed me to be,” Morris said. “I hope they remember me as passionate and hard-working person who loved the game of basketball but more importantly, loved them. Saying 'I'm so thankful for them' would be a giant understatement. I don't think they'll ever understand how much they mean to me. I'm so thankful for Coach Olson. Plain and simple, I wouldn't have become the player I did without him.”
Concordia won a total of 11 games during the 2014-15 season against teams that appear in the top 25 of the postseason rating. The Bulldogs made victims out of No. 1 Morningside, No. 4 Saint Xavier, No. 5 Hastings (3x), No. 7 Jamestown (twice), No. 10 Briar Cliff (3x) and No. 17 College of Saint Mary.
Preseason top 25 rankings under Olson
Final end of season top 25 rankings under Olson