RIVER FOREST, Ill. – Another second-half surge propelled the seventh-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team to the 26th Concordia Invitational Tournament title in program history. For the second-straight season, the Bulldogs ran away from Concordia University Wisconsin in the championship tilt, winning the latest battle, 75-53, on Saturday evening in River Forest, Ill. Named CIT MVP, freshman Quinn Wragge bullied the Falcons by scoring almost at will in the paint.
The CIT championship is the seventh in head coach Drew Olson’s 10 years at the helm of the Bulldogs, who improved to 17-6 overall this season.
“You always have that goal at the beginning of the season to win CIT,” Olson said. “We take a lot of pride in this tournament. We always want to bring back the trophy. I’m really proud of our kids. I really felt like this was a big win for us to develop and get better. They’re really coming together as a group.”
CUNE took control with a 12-1 run late in the third quarter. Wragge owned the lane offensively and key triples were delivered by Laurel Krohn and Jade Gottier during the splurge. After struggling in the first half (1-for-6), Becky Mueller took over in the fourth quarter. She scored 10 of the Bulldogs’ first 11 points in the final stanza as they grew a seven-point lead to 15 with 5:31 remaining. The Falcons (15-4) couldn’t keep up. They managed only 10 points over the final 10 minutes.
Nothing phased Wragge in her first taste of CIT electricity. She went 10-for-16 from the floor while pirouetting through the lane. She terrorized CUW on the other end with a career high four blocks to go along with two thefts. She had 20 points and six boards to lock up MVP honors.
“It was crazy. It’s so loud,” Wragge said. “You’re trying to yell at your teammates and they can barely hear you. It just makes for an awesome, awesome atmosphere. It was a good game and that made it even more exciting.”
Wragge averaged 17.5 points over the weekend as the Bulldogs have begun to figure things out without the services of sophomore Mary Janovich.
“Quinn played an amazing game,” Olson said. “I thought her teammates did a great job of finding her. She had so many back cuts moving without the ball. She’s really developing into a dominant player and that’s what we need.”
A 22-point final spread appeared improbable by the end of the first half. The Bulldogs led by just one (29-28) at the break after shooting just 37.9 percent over the first 20 minutes. CUW began a 16-2 run with 30-foot 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer from Madelyn Landgraf. The Falcons led by six until CUNE followed with a 9-0 run via treys from Laurel Krohn and Brenleigh Daum and a Shelby Quinn three-point play.
Mueller joined Wragge on the all-tournament team. The Elkhorn native made 6-of-13 shots and totaled 15 points a day after putting up 19. The human microwave Brenleigh Daum netted 13 points while going 3-for-5 from long range. Daum’s late back-breaking trey put a cherry on top of a lights-out second half. The Bulldogs made 17-of-28 shots from the field over the last 20 minutes.
Conversely, CUW made only 6-of-21 (.286) attempts from the field in the second half. The Falcons were led by the 11 points from Megan Coenen.
The Bulldogs will play their third-straight nonconference game on Tuesday when Grace University (7-18) visits Walz Arena for a 7 p.m. tipoff. CUNE defeated the Royals twice last season, winning by an average margin of 65.5 points.
CIT All-Tournament Team
MVP – Quinn Wragge, CUNE
Becky Mueller, CUNE
Megan Coenen, CUW
Morgan Jahnke, CUC
Colleen Szakacs, CUAA