MEQUON, Wis. – Concordia University Wisconsin had already clinched its spot in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Tournament, but Marian University was playing for a postseason bid. The Falcons spoiled the Sabres hopes of playing another game with a 59-47 victory on Tuesday night inside the R. John Buuck Field House.
CUW enters Saturday's NACC Tournament quarterfinal game as the No. 4 seed and will host fifth-seeded Concordia University Chicago at 7 pm. The Falcons and Cougars split the two regular season matchups, with each winning on their home court.
It took a while on Tuesday night for the offense to show on the court, but when it did, the Falcons had a three-headed attack during the second half. Junior Madelyn Landgraf (Elkhart Lake, Wis.) led all scorers with 17 points, while freshmen Audrey Scharmer (Winona, Minn.) and Brianna Wagner (Fond du Lac, Wis.) each had double-doubles for the second-consecutive game.
"It wasn't a pretty win, but it was another win for us," head coach Stacey Brunner-Jones said. "I am impressed with how we respond during tough times without a senior on the roster. Our three captains [Landgraf, Megan Coenen and Taylor DeLong] have taken on a lot of responsibility and pressure this season, and have done a nice job leading this team."
Brunner-Jones added, "Now we must prepare for Concordia Chicago and the NACC Tournament. It showed again tonight, but Maddie is our go-to offensive player and we are going to lean on her. I am also happy with the play of Audrey and Brianna, especially the last two games."
In the early going things weren't pretty, as CUW turned the ball over 12 times in the opening half and MU shot a depressing 9.7 percent (3-of-31), including 2-of-13 from downtown. The Falcons did lead 19-13 at the intermission, which tied their season-low point total for the first half.
CUW led by seven points with 13:31 to play in the game, before MU put together a 13-2 scoring run over the next three minutes to swing all momentum in their favor. The scoreboard went back-and-forth for nearly five minutes before the Falcons flexed their muscle.
Following a one-point lead with 4:40 to play, the Falcons received a layup from Scharmer, followed by a pair of free throws from Wagner and an old-fashioned three-point play by Landgraf to increase the lead to eight points, 49-41, less than a minute later.
Over the final 3:32 the Sabres were able to score just six points, as they went 1-for-7 from the field and turned the ball over twice. CUW sealed the victory by making 6-of-8 free throws.
The Falcons did finish with 23 turnovers, but forced 15 on the defensive end and converted those errors into 19 points. They also tallied 34 points in the paint and held the Sabres to 22.6 percent for the game and 5-of-21 from outside the arc.
Scharmer had 10 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with two assists, while Wagner recorded 11 points and 11 rebounds, as well as two blocks, but did turn the ball over seven times. Sophomore Sammi Blissett (Springfield, Ill.) had a career-high seven rebounds and three assists. Junior Megan Coenen (Green Bay, Wis.) and freshman Corrina Terrano (Phoenix, Ariz.) each rejected a career-high two shots. Freshman Katelyn Sewall (Menasha, Wis.) finished with seven points and three rebounds.
Sarah Olewinski paced the Sabres with 14 points and four assists, while Amelia Mirsberger scored 13 points and stole three passes. MU's starting five combined to shoot 11-of-45, including 5-of-16 from 3-point land. The Sabres finish the season with a 12-13 overall record and an 8-12 record in NACC play.
CUW enters Saturday with a 19-6 overall record, which includes a 15-5 record in NACC play.