ERIE, PA. – Concordia (St. Paul) lost 72-64 to Nova Southeastern on Tuesday in the NCAA Division II women’s basketball Elite Eight.
The Golden Bears (28-9) trailed by 11 points at 34-23 early in the second half but rallied to tie the score twice at 43 and 45 before Nova Southeastern (29-4) pulled away. Concordia got within five points with 15 seconds left before the Sharks’ four free throws halted the rally.
“I kept telling the team, ‘If we get two stops in a row and take the lead, we wouldn’t relinquish it and finish off winning.’ We just couldn’t get those two stops,” Concordia coach Paul Fessler said, “… which is unusual for us because we have been getting big stops all year.”
Senior guard Rachel Hansen led Concordia, which had won nine games in a row, with 16 points and five assists. Carissa Wolyniec added 15 points, nine on three-pointers. Her third three was her 100th of the season, a school record.
Teammate Anika Whiting scored 14 points and had seven rebounds and two blocks. The junior forward’s two free throws tied the score at 43-all with 9 minutes, 30 seconds left.
With the score at 45-all, Nova Southeastern, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., went on a 10-1 run to go ahead 55-46 with under five minutes to play.
Reserve 6-foot guard Amanda Burakoski of the Sharks scored 27 points on 7-for-13 shooting and had 11 rebounds. Aside from her, Nova Southeastern shot just 20 percent (11-for-55).
“She’s a tough matchup for us because she gets to the free throw line, and she forced us to change our defense,” Fessler said.
The Sharks also grabbed 22 offensive rebounds and had a 60-42 advantage on the boards.
“We talked in the locker room after the game that we weren’t going to focus on this game because we didn’t have our best day today,” Fessler said.
“We are going to focus on the season and the run we made to get here. Our players are proud recognizing they took the program to a new level coming to the Elite Eight.”