Justin Rust | For The Journal Gazette Concordia's Quinn Wragge, left, defends Indiana Tech's Rachel Bell during the NAIA D-II tournament quarterfinal Saturday in Sioux City, Iowa.
Justin Rust | For The Journal Gazette Indiana Tech's Bella Lozano-Dobbs, right, passes to Alexis Hill for a reverse layup during the first quarter of the Warriors' NAIA D-II national tournament quarterfinal game against Concordia at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City Iowa, on Saturday.
Justin Rust | For The Journal Gazette Indiana Tech's Rachel Bell throws a long pass up the court to teammate Alexis Hill as she's guarded by Concordia's Quinn Wragge, left, and Mackenzie Helman, right, during Saturday's NAIA D-II women's national tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
Justin Rust | For The Journal Gazette Indiana Tech's DeAnn Kauffman tries to pass out of a trap by Concordia's Philly Lammers, center, and Grace Barry, right, during Saturday's NAIA D-II national women's tournament quarterfinal at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City Iowa.
Justin Rust | For The Journal Gazette Indiana Tech's Bella Lozano-Dobbs loses control of the ball against Concordia's MacKenzie Helman, left, during Saturday's NAIA D-II national women's tournament quarterfinal at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
Sunday, March 10, 2019 1:00 am
NAIA Women's Tournament Concordia 73 Indiana Tech 53
Warriors fall in NAIA tourney quarterfinals
JUSTIN RUST | For The Journal Gazette
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – In the first two games Indiana Tech played at the NAIA Division II National Championships, the Warriors' defense was the key in getting both victories.
For the first few minutes against No. 1 Concordia (Nebraska), the defensive game plan was working again. But once Concordia made some adjustments, the No. 7 Warriors couldn't find a way to counter the Bulldogs.
Concordia's defense started to get to the Warriors and it led to a 17-0 run for Concordia as the Bulldogs controlled the rest of the game for a 73-53 victory to earn a Final Four spot for the third straight season and for the fourth time in the past five seasons.
“You can't take off possessions against them. They will make you pay ever single time,” said Tech coach Jessie Biggs, a former Northern Iowa standout. “We didn't stick to our scouting and do want we wanted to do in transition, which was not give them any open 3s. We didn't take care of the ball the best which is what (Concordia) is good at.
“The kids showed a lot of fight, I thought they played hard. I was happy with how they came out. You can't have too many mistakes against them or they will get you.”
Concordia coach Drew Olson said the team's game plan was completely adjusted after the first few minutes of the game.
“Our game plan was to play our usual style of defense. Pressing using our matchup zone. (Indiana Tech) did a really good job early on and as a coaching staff, we thought we had to adjust to it,” Olson said. “We were planning on switching to man (defense) at some point. It was just earlier than we expected. I was really pleased with our kids and their ability to adapt and their confidence in knocking down shots played a big part in that first half.”
After falling behind 8-0, Concordia outscored Tech 43-16 for the rest of the first half, holding the Warriors to only 34.5 percent (10-of-29) shooting and causing nine turnovers, which turned into 13 points for the Bulldogs.
Grace Barry led Concordia with 17 points and six assists and Mackenzie Koepke came off the bench and hit three 3-pointers. She finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Six different players (Barry, Koepke, Taylor Cockerill, MacKenzie Helman, Riley Sibbel and Philly Lammers) all finished with eight or more points in a well-rounded offensive effort.
Indiana Tech finishes the season with a 32-4 record. It was the first trip to the quarterfinals for the Warriors since the 1993 season when the tournament was a 20-team format. It's currently 32 teams and this was the first time the Warriors won multiple games at the national tournament.
With the loss, the Warriors fall to 0-3 all-time in the national quarterfinals.
“Being in the number one overall team's bracket is tough. I am just proud of our team and the progression that this program has taken,” Biggs said. “(For Concordia) it's a standard instead of a goal (to get this far). Our program is still pretty fresh in the fact that it's a goal still for us (to get this far). I think that's the difference in the approach to that game.”
Alexis Hill led Indiana Tech with 17 points in the loss. Kendall Knapke had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. DeAnn Kauffman added 10 points.
The loss ends the careers of seniors Knapke, Bella Lozano-Dobbs, Jenna Szostak, Isis Parker, Emily Wieland and Mikaela Lyons, who compiled a 108-28 record as a class, the most wins of any class in program history.