MEQUON, Wis. -- Concordia University Wisconsin's Women's Basketball team started the season winning nine straight, which is the best start in head coach Stacey Brunner-Jones' tenure. This led to the Falcons getting attention in the D3hoops.com Top-25 poll.
The Falcons are again contenders for the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference title and below are three reasons why they could possibly have another banner season.
Getting to the free throw line
CUW shot 69.2 percent from the charity stripe during the winning streak and were over 75 percent in three contests. CUW excelled at drawing fouls and currently lead in free throws made and attempted in NACC contests. They attempt over 26 free throws per game and attempted over 30 charity tosses in a trio of games this season.
When the Falcons go to the line is also an important factor. CUW made six free throws in the last 48 seconds to defeat Carroll University, including three by senior Camille Parsons (Urbana, Ill.) and two by sophomore Madelyn Landgraf (Elkhart Lake, Wis.). Parsons also sealed a come-from-behind win against UW-La Crosse with two seconds to play and against Aurora University with nine seconds left on the clock. She leads the team with 45 free throws made.
Turnovers is always an important statistic
CUW is third in nation with a 12.0 turnovers per game average. Protecting the ball has been a staple this season and they have committed 10 or fewer miscues in four games, including a season-low seven against UW-La Crosse.
On the defensive end, CUW has capitalized on opponents errors and made defensive pressure a vital component to its nine victories. During the winning streak, the Falcons averaged 19.8 points off turnovers. They have never scored in single digits off opponent's turnovers, but have scored 20 or more points off turnovers in four games. On December 7, they tallied 33 points after Benedictine University gave the ball away 20 times, which is a season high.
Sharing the spotlight
Senior Katie Luethe (Oshkosh, Wis.) has been a dominant force her entire career and this season has been no exception. She leads the team in scoring with a 15.5 points per game average and has paced the team in scoring during five of 10 games played. The difference this season for the Falcons is balance.
Six players can say they led CUW in scoring. The latest being rookie sensation Tori Riechers (Cedarburg, Wis.) who tallied 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting at Wisconsin Lutheran College. She is third on the team in scoring (11.7 ppg) and is shooting 50.0 percent (47-of-94) from the floor.
In addition, sophomores Megan Coenen (Green Bay, Wis.) and Landgraf each netted a career-high 20 points to lead the Falcons past Alverno College in an overtime thriller, 75-65, inside the R. John Buuck Field House on December 16.
Other Falcons who stepped up as a team's high scorer include Parsons, who had a career-high-tying 19 at Benedictine University, Riechers who had a career-best-tying 17 at Carroll University and sophomore Jasmine Williams (Chicago, Ill.) who sparked a comeback against UW-La Crosse with 15 points.
If CUW is going to lace up the sneakers in March it will have to continue shooting more free throws than its opponents, be on the postive side of the turnover ratio and find the hot hand.