MADISON, Wis. – Concordia University Wisconsin made free throws in crunch time to preserve a critical 67-62 victory at Edgewood College on Tuesday night during Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference play. The win is the third-straight and the ninth out of the last 10 for the Falcons.
CUW and EC went back-and-forth all game, as neither team had control of the game for more than a few minutes. The Falcons had been struggling at the charity stripe the past few games, but found their touch at a pivotal moment in the second half. When EC decided to foul in hopes that CUW would miss, it didn't work because they made eight-consecutive free throws in the final 43 seconds and finished 18-of-21 for the game.
"What an exciting game," head coach Stacey Brunner-Jones said. "We made free throws down the stretch when we needed to the most. Katelyn stepped up and helped us when some of our other guards had an off night. I am very proud of her progress lately."
Despite 21 turnovers by the Falcons, they were able to outscore the Eagles' bench by a 32-19 margin. They also had 14 assists on 22 field goals made. Freshman Brianna Wagner (Fond du Lac, Wis.) again had an impressive game, finishing with fourth double-double of the season – 14 points and 12 rebounds (four offensive) – to go along with a career-high-tying three steals in just 17 minutes of action. Not to go unnoticed, but freshman Katelyn Sewall (Menasha, Wis.) was essential in the victory with 18 points, including three 3-pointers, and 5-of-5 at the free throw line.
"We shared the ball, which is going to be the key to winning more games as we get close to the NACC Tournament," Brunner-Jones said. "Brianna was huge with another double-double. We needed her to rebound the ball tonight and she performed well again for us inside."
CUW's defense was also impressive, holding EC to 31.9 percent from the field and 3-of-17 from outside the 3-point arc. They were, however, only able to force 12 turnovers, after entering the game forcing an average of 18 per contest. The Eagles outscored the Falcons 21-5 in second chance points after grabbing 18 offensive rebounds.
Junior Madelyn Landgraf (Elkhart Lake, Wis.) added 13 points, five rebounds, four assists, steal and a career-high two blocks for CUW. Junior Megan Coenen (Green Bay, Wis.) finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Audrey Scharmer (Winona, Minn.) chipped in seven points.
Rachel Pope led the Eagles (7-10, 6-6 NACC) with 21 points on 7-of-21 shooting, to go along with four rebounds, two assists and three steals. Ellyn Hayden recorded 12 points and five rebounds, while Courtney Spangler scored five points and grabbed seven rebounds. Hannah Menzia tallied seven points and five rebounds (four offensive).
The Falcons extended their lead to a game-best 10 points to end a 7-0 scoring run with one minute and 58 seconds left before halftime. The Eagles fought back and trimmed their deficit to five points before the intermission and trailed 36-31. CUW received 20 points from its bench in the opening 20 minutes of play.
CUW controlled much of the second half, as the scoreboard was tied just twice and EC led for 59 seconds. The Falcons advantage peaked at nine points twice, before the Eagles went on an 8-0 scoring run to take a one-point advantage with 2:59 to play. CUW answered with seven unanswered points to regain control. Landgraf sank four free throws, while Coenen and Wagner each drained a pair at the charity stripe to help preserve the victory.
CUW (13-3, 10-3 NACC) returns to the court on Thursday for a much anticipated showdown at NACC-leader Wisconsin Lutheran College at 7 p.m.