SEWARD, Neb. – Midland University fell behind early and could not muster a comeback as they fell to No. 2-ranked and top-seeded Concordia University by a score of 95-46 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference Quarterfinals.
The Warriors (12-19, 8-14 GPAC) faced a tall-task on Wednesday as they faced a Bulldog (29-2, 21-1 GPAC) squad that remained undefeated at home through the regular-season. Midland was meeting Concordia for the second Wednesday in a row after narrowly falling by a score of 75-68 at home on February 19.
In the postseason matchup the Warriors were held to shooting 24.5 percent (13-of-53) from the field compared to a blistering 52.9 percent (36-of-68) for the Bulldogs. Midland outrebounded Concordia at a 39-38 clip including a 12-7 edge in offensive boards. Midland struggled with turnovers as the team committed 34 on the night with Concordia converting for 46 points. Seniors Amanda Hansen and Jada Simpson paced the team with 10 points each while senior Maddie Meadows followed with eight points. Junior Makenna Sullivan came away with a team-best seven rebounds and senior Shelby Bretschneider recorded six in just seven minutes of action.
Midland kept things close in the opening frame after a pair of free throws from junior Katy Gathje saw the Warriors down 6-5 with 7:26 to go. Concordia was 3-of-3 from beyond the arc over a one-minute stretch to extend the lead before a three from Hansen slowed the momentum. The Bulldogs would drop in the final bucket of the quarter and led 22-11 going into the second quarter.
The Bulldogs would enjoy an 11-point run before a jumper from freshman Lexi Kraft had Midland behind 33-13 with six minutes on the clock. Sophomore Sam Shepard would find success from beyond the arc, but another run for Concordia brought the score to 44-17 with 3:05 to go. Concordia countered each Midland blow down the stretch and held a 54-27 lead heading into the break.
The struggles continued for the Warriors as turnovers resulted in a 12-point run to put Concordia up 66-27 with 5:51 to go in the quarter. Three free throws for freshman Emma Shepard had the Warriors down 71-33 with under two minutes to go, but Concordia would tack on four more points to take a 75-33 lead into the final ten minutes of play.
The Bulldogs saw their largest lead of the evening before a jumper from Simpson brought the score to 86-36. Seniors would continue to contribute offensively as Hansen and Simpson combined for five points to see Midland down 89-41 with 2:50 on the clock. It would be Simpson again as a three and a pair of free throws marked the end of the road for Midland who fell by a score of 95-46.
It was the final game for the senior class of Maddie Meadows, Amanda Hansen, Jada Simpson, Cheyenne Hanson, Shelby Bretschneider, and Laura Speer. The group made four GPAC Tournament appearances while facing some of the toughest teams in the NAIA each night. This season alone saw the Warriors competing in 19 games against teams ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA Division II Top 25.
Midland will certainly miss the presence of the 2019-20 senior class but will look to an experienced core to lead the charge next season. Seniors-to-be Katy Gathje and Makenna Sullivan will lead the Warriors in the new season while Lexis Haase and Lexi Kraft will bring a wealth of experience and quality minutes into the 2020-21 season.