Trent Jackson, Sports Information Director
WAVERLY, Iowa – The top-seeded Wartburg women’s basketball team defeated No. 2 seed Loras College 67-54 Saturday afternoon at Levick Arena to earn the program’s fourth consecutive conference tournament championship.
The Knights, also American Rivers Conference regular season champions, become the first Iowa Conference women’s basketball program to four-peat in both the regular season and tournament.
Wartburg generated 24 points off Duhawk turnovers and tallied 11 steals to improve its overall record to 24-3 and earn an automatic bid to a fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament.
Three Knights scored in double figures, led by Kaitlyn Volesky’s 15 points off the bench. Tori Hazard and Payton Draper each had 13, while Amanda Brainerd owned the team-lead with six rebounds. Emma Gerdes led with four assists and Ally Conrad with three steals.
Wartburg shot 20-of-48 from the field and 7-of-21 from beyond the arc while limiting the Duhawks to a 31.5 percent mark from the field.
The first half featured a trio of lead changes, with Wartburg creating some separation near the midway point of the second quarter. With 3:37 remaining in the frame, a Hazard layup gave the Orange & Black its largest lead of the first 20 minutes, a 14-point lead at 32-18. However, Loras responded on an 11-0 run to close out the half as the scoreboard read 32-29 in favor of the home team at the break.
In the second half, the Knights regained a double-digit advantage near the end of the third quarter and held on to at least an eight-point lead to claim the victory.
Ranked seventh nationally by WBCA and No. 1 in the NCAA West Region, Wartburg will learn its whereabouts in the NCAA Tournament during the selection show on Monday, March 2 at 1:30 p.m.