Sports, Women's Basketball

What rivalry? Seniors get redemption against Norse, win IIAC championship

The Wartburg senior class won their first career game against Luther on the road in Decorah.- SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Wartburg women’s basketball team continued their undefeated season and clinched the 2017-18 Iowa Conference regular season championship with a 63-54 victory over the Luther Norse.

This was the first win for the Knights’ senior class in Decorah and allowed Wartburg to sweep the season series for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Miranda Murphy also joined the 1,000 Point Club with the first basket of the game, converting a three-point play. She is the third member of the senior class to join the club and 15th overall.

Murphy finished as the team’s leading scorer with 14 points and also contributed seven rebounds.

The Knights trailed at the end of the first by a single point, but rebounded to go into the halftime break with an eight-point lead.

Wartburg’s lead would reach double digits in the second half, but Luther went on a strong run to end the third down only six points.

In the fourth, Luther would shrink the lead even further to make it a one-point game, 45-44, with 8:39 left.

Seniors twins Katie and Kristie Sommer would then go on to hit a pair of threes, their first baskets of the game, separated by a transition jumper from Morgan Neuendorf.

Katie finished with just nine points, but all of them came in the fourth quarter to help her team seal the victory.

The Knights never looked back after this stretch, finishing with a nine-point victory.

With the victory, Wartburg repeats as IIAC champions, they clinched the 2016-17 regular season and tournament titles against Luther as well.

They now sit at 22-0 (13-0) and will hold home court advantage for the Iowa Conference Tournament as they look to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year.

The Knights have now won four straight against Luther and five of the last six dating back to the 2015-16 season.

Wartburg will celebrate Senior Day on Saturday in their next game as the Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves come to Levick Arena. The Knights beat Nebraska Wesleyan 93-72 in Lincoln the first time the teams met up on Jan. 17.

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