Wragge nets 29; Concordia falls short at Morningside

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 6, 2016 in Women's Basketball

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – A monster performance from budding freshman Quinn Wragge sprang the 12th-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team to life midway through the fourth quarter of Saturday’s tussle at No. 2 Morningside. But the defending national champion Mustangs held everyone not named Wragge to 24.4 percent shooting on their way to a 79-65 victory.

The loss in Concordia’s eighth game of the season against a top-25 opponent dropped tenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad to 19-7 overall and 11-7 in GPAC action.

“I’m really proud of how our kids competed,” Olson said. “Morningside’s a great team. They’re an elite team with all their kids back from the national title team. There were a lot of moments where we did things really well. Quinn Wragge was phenomenal. Shelby Quinn had a really nice game. She kept attacking and kept competing. That’s what I wanted to see out of our team – that fight.”

Wragge shined brightly on the Ross Verdoorn Gymnasium floor. The Crofton, Neb., native was nearly automatic inside, making 13 of 16 shots from the field in route to a career best 29 points. On an afternoon when the outside shots weren’t falling (4-for-26 from 3-point range), Wragge kept the Bulldogs afloat in a tough road environment.

With Morningside (24-2, 16-2 GPAC) seemingly in full control, Wragge went to work with three-straight buckets that got Concordia within 11 (70-59) and forced a Mustang timeout with 4:55 remaining in the game. Jordyn Wollenburg put down the uprising with a crippling trey on the ensuing possession to restore order. The Bulldogs never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.

Morningside aggressively attacked Concordia, resulting in 38 free throw attempts (26 successful). Potent inside presence Jessica Tietz had 18 points (7-for-9 from the field) to top the Mustangs, who have now clinched at least a share of the GPAC regular-season title. Four others reached double figures in scoring for Morningside, including Lexi Ackerman, who turned in a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds). Tietz and company managed to foul out three Bulldogs.

“They’re a great defensive team and they’re long,” Olson said of Morningside. “They do what they do really well in that 2-3 zone. Offensively we have to do a little better job attacking and being more aggressive off the dribble. We’ve got to hit the high post, hit the low post. When we did that we showed that we can play. We just didn’t do it enough and obviously we have to hit shots.”

Outside of Wragge, Concordia struggled to gain traction offensively. The other four Bulldog starters combined for just three made field goals and were a collective 2-for-19 from beyond the arc. Though junior Shelby Quinn went 2-for-10 from the field, she nailed all 10 of her free throws and totaled 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Concordia never held a lead on Saturday. Morningside jumped out to a 15-3 lead while riding Tietz (eight points during the run). The Bulldogs followed with a 12-3 spurt with Wragge serving as the ring leader. Morningside, 12-2 at home this season, built a 37-28 lead going into the halftime break.

The Bulldogs begin a stretch of three-straight conference home games on Wednesday when Midland (7-18, 5-13 GPAC) visits Walz Arena for a 6 p.m. tipoff. Concordia has won each of the last 15 meetings with the Warriors, who have lost 12-consecutive games since a 78-75 overtime upset at then fourth-ranked Briar Cliff.