The Wartburg Women’s Basketball team lost their NCAA Tournament opening round game 67-63 to the Chicago Maroons in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The loss was a huge disappointment for a team that came into the tournament 25-2 and were coming off a Final Four run last season.
The Knights struggled offensively throughout the night, scoring 14 points under their season average for points per game. They shot 3-17 from the three point line, a stark contrast to the near 38% the team shot throughout the year coming into the game.
Turnovers were a huge killer for a Wartburg, committing 21 over the forty minute contest. This allowed the Maroons to get 21 points off turnovers.
Individually, Wartburg had four different players in double figures. Morgan Neuendorf and Aryn Jones led the way with 13 points each while Katie Sommer and Miranda Murphy each chipped in 12 points.
Although Murphy scored near her season average in terms of points per game, she was very inconsistent from the field. She finished the game shooting 4-15, a tough game for a player who was just named to the Iowa Conference First Team for the first time in her career.
The Maroons got a huge contribution from guard Miranda Burt who scored 23 points and hit five shots from behind the arc.
The loss ends a season that was one of the best in program history. The team finished 25-3 and won the Iowa Conference regular season and tournament, but there are some positives that can be taken away from this loss.
This is a team with no seniors this year and will return an entire roster from a top ten ranked squad that has made the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons.
They will have a team with experience to spare next year and this loss could serve as a learning moment for a deep team. There will be a starting lineup returning made up of five All-Conference selections, including the 2016-17 IIAC MVP, Sommer. Iowa Conference Coach of the Year Bob Amsberry will also be back at the helm next season.
Expect this team to come back hungry for another conference title and be ready for another potential deep NCAA Tournament run.