For the second time in three years, both the Wartburg men’s and women’s basketball teams have both advance to the Iowa Conference tournament championship.
These appearances are due to strong performances in the conference semi-finals Thursday night. The 9th ranked women’s team defended their home court by beating the 4 seed Buena Vista Beavers. The men on the other side went on the road and upset the Loras Duhawks 92-89 to advance to their third straight conferenct title game.
The women’s game did not start very strongly for the Knights as they were matched basket for basket in the first half and actually went into hafltime trailing by two.
Wartburg, however, would outscore the Beavers by 17 in the second half and were led by four different player in double figures.
Katie Sommer had one of the best games of her career, pouring in 22 points to go along with 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals. Miranda Murphy had a great bounce back game, after only scoring three points on Saturday, she finished with 16 points on 5-8 shooting.
Aryn Jones also had a big game with 13 points and also a pair of big blocks.
Wartburg will host Luther at Levick Arena on Saturday. The Norse and the Knights split the regular season matchups, but Wartburg did beat Luther on Feb. 8 by 23 points to secure the IIAC Regular Season Championship.
On the men’s side it was a great comeback in the second half that sends them into the conference championship.
After trailing by ten points at halftime, the Knights went on a furious comeback that resulted in an upset win.
Jaran Sabus had a huge first half with 23 points, and ended up with a career high 35 points. This is the largest scoring output by a Knights’ player all season and was only six points shy of the school record.
Jordan Cannon also had a very nice night, scoring 16 points in the second half. Nick Webber was the top facilitator for the Knights with 8 assists and continued to be a strong presence for them down the stretch.
Also scoring in double digits for Wartburg was Nate Woeste who finished with 14 points to go along with two blocks and a pair of three pointers that helped the Knights secure the win in the last minutes.
Wartburg will travel to Pella on Saturday to play Central in a rematch of last year’s championship. Central won last year’s game 92-80 and Wartburg lost at Central earlier this season in a close game that they led up until the final minute of the game.
The winners of Saturday’s games will receive the Iowa Conference automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament which begins next weekend.