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BASKETBALL: Concordia women picked first, men 10th in GPAC preseason polls

BASKETBALL: Concordia women picked first, men 10th in GPAC preseason polls
Courtesy/Concordia Athletics.

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University women’s basketball team is the only program in the GPAC era to sweep GPAC regular-season and tournament titles in back-to-back years. Now many are expecting the Bulldogs to do it again. In the 2018-19 GPAC preseason coaches’ poll released on Monday (Oct. 22), head coach Drew Olson’s squad appeared in the No. 1 position with a total of 119 points (nine of 12 first-place votes).

Three starters are back, including All-Americans in junior Philly Lammers and senior Quinn Wragge in the frontcourt. The other returning starter is junior MacKenzie Helman. Additionally, sophomore guard Taylor Cockerill and junior forward Colby Duvel return from the 2017-18 squad that went 36-2 and reached the NAIA Division II national championship game. Last season as a sophomore, Lammers averaged 13.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.4 steals while shooting 51.4 percent from the field. Wragge averaged 13.0 points and 5.3 rebounds and shot 60.1 percent from the floor.

Top billing in the GPAC essentially guarantees that Concordia will be highly rated in the preseason national poll that will be announced on Tuesday. The Bulldogs have been ranked in every national poll since the start of the 2011-12 season (82-consecutive poll releases). Throughout the 2017-18 season, Olson’s squad never dipped below third in the NAIA coaches’ poll and was No. 1 for each of the rankings released on Jan. 9, Jan. 23, Feb. 6, Feb. 20 and Feb. 28.

With the addition of Jamestown to the conference, the league schedule moves to 22 games this season. Over the past two campaigns, Concordia has gone 38-2 in GPAC regular-season action. Under Olson, the program has captured four conference regular-season titles (2012, 2014, 2017, 2018) and four GPAC tournament titles (2012, 2015, 2017, 2018).

The season will officially get underway this Friday and Saturday at the Viterbo Invitational in La Crosse, Wis. The Bulldogs will take on Indiana Wesleyan University at 3 p.m. CT on Friday. They will also play an exhibition game at NCAA Division I South Dakota State University on Thursday.

2018-19 GPAC Preseason Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
1. Concordia – 119 (9)
2. Dakota Wesleyan – 111 (3)
3. Northwestern – 96
4. Morningside – 87
5. Hastings – 86
6. Jamestown – 71
7. Dordt – 55
8. Midland – 54
9. Briar Cliff – 48
10. Mount Marty – 27
11. Doane – 24
12. College of Saint Mary – 14

Concordia slotted at No. 10 in GPAC men’s hoops preseason poll

GPAC preseason poll

SEWARD, Neb. – Following a sixth-place GPAC finish in 2017-18, the Concordia University men’s basketball team has been pegged to slide back a few spots. In the GPAC men’s basketball preseason coaches’ poll released on Monday (Oct. 22), the Bulldogs checked in 10th out of the 11 teams with 17 points.

The low ranking likely has to do with the fact that Concordia returns only sharpshooter Tanner Shuck from its 2017-18 starting lineup. A 6-foot-4 wing from Grand Island, Neb., Shuck averaged 13.0 points last season for a Bulldog squad that finished at 17-13 overall (8-10 GPAC). Head coach Ben Limback’s program also welcomes back juniors Brevin Sloup and Riley Tegtmeier. It will be reliant upon a large group of transfers and freshmen to fill in the gaps.

With Jamestown added to the GPAC this season, the league schedule will expand from 18 to 20 games this winter. Twenty conference games had been the norm prior to the subtraction of Nebraska Wesleyan from the league. Over the past four years, Limback has led Concordia to at least eight GPAC victories each season. The high-water mark for overall wins during that stretch was 21 in 2016-17. The program’s most recent conference championship was a tournament title in 2005.

The season will officially open up next Monday (Oct. 29) with Kansas Wesleyan University paying a visit to Walz Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT.

2018-19 GPAC Preseason Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
1. Morningside – 100 (10)
2. Briar Cliff – 90 (1)
3. Dakota Wesleyan – 83
4. Doane – 69
5. Dordt – 56
T6. Northwestern – 46
T6. Hastings – 46
T6. Midland – 46
9. Jamestown – 40
10. Concordia – 17
11. Mount Marty – 12

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