Indiana WBB Falls to Top-Ranked Bulldogs in NAIA Quarterfinals

Sports
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The No. 7-ranked Indiana Tech women’s basketball team saw its historic season come to a close on Saturday afternoon inside the Tyson Events Center as they fell to No. 1-ranked Concordia University (Neb.), 73-53, in the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Championship.

The Warriors end the 2018-19 season with a 32-4 record, the most wins in program history, while they won the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) Tournament for the first time in school history and repeated as the WHAC regular season champions. The team advanced to the quarterfinals of the national tournament for the first time since 1993 and made it to the round of eight for the first time under the 32-team format, while they won multiple games at the championship for the first time in school history. The loss also ends the careers of seniors Kendall 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.

Alexis Hill led Tech with a game-high 17 points, four rebounds and two steals while Knapke recorded the seventh double-double of the season. Knapke finishes her illustrious career with 1,669 points, the fourth-most in program history and started every game for the Warriors, reaching 136 straight games. DeAnn Kauffman added 10 points and two steals while Rachel Bell had a game-high seven assists and five rebounds. Lozano-Dobbs had six assists and four rebounds in her final game for the Orange and Black.

The Warriors raced out of the gates on an 8-0 run, with Hill scoring the first six points of the contest while the Bulldogs had to take a timeout at the 8:15 mark of the first quarter. The reigning national runner-ups, who were seeking their fourth straight trip to the national semifinals, responded with a 17-0 run over the next five minutes to force the Warriors to call a timeout with 2:38 left in the period. Knapke hit the final two baskets of the game for Tech to make it a 19-13 game at the first intermission.

The Orange and Black kept the deficit at six with 6:05 to go in the first half and held the Bulldogs scoreless for a two-minute and 50-second stretch at the beginning of the second quarter, but the number one seed in the tournament came right back with a 10-2 run to push their lead up to 14 points with 3:52 on the clock. Concordia controlled the momentum the rest of the half thanks to a 9-3 run that gave them a 43-24 lead at the break.

The first half proved to be the difference in the ball game, as the Warriors were outscored by just a point in the final 20 minutes of the game, but were limited to just 7-25 (28%) shooting from the field and 3-10 from behind the three-point line. Tech cut the deficit down to 17 points with 2:41 to go in the third and a two-minute and 57-second scoring drought from Concordia gave the Orange and Black a window to mount a comeback, but the Bulldogs held Tech scoreless for nearly two and a half minutes in the middle of the period to erase their hopes and end the Warriors historic season.

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