Wartburg Wins Fourth-Straight League Tournament Title
The Wartburg women's basketball team made history at Levick Arena in Waverly Saturday afternoon.
The top-seeded Knights won the American Rivers Conference Tournament championship, beating No. 2 seed Loras 67-54 in the title game. With the win, Wartburg becomes the first program in the league (formerly the Iowa Conference) to win four-consecutive regular-season and tournament crowns.
As tournament champion, the Knights (24-3) earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Wartburg will be part of the 64-team field for the fifth-consecutive year. The pairings will be revealed Monday at 1:30 PM during a selection show that will be live-streamed at ncaa.com.
The Knights are ranked seventh nationally by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). They are ranked No. 1 in the NCAA West Region.
Wartburg got double-figure scoring from three players. Kaitlyn Volesky scored 15 points off the bench, while Tori Hazard and Payton Draper each added 13. Amanda Brainerd grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
Coach Bob Amsberry's team shot 20-of-48 from the field and 7-of-21 from beyond the arc while limiting the Duhawks to a 31.5 percent mark from the field.
The Knights generated 24 points off Loras turnovers and tallied 11 steals.
The first half featured a trio of lead changes, with Wartburg creating some separation near the midway point of the second quarter. A layup by Hazard with 3:37 remaining gave Wartburg a 32-18 edge, its largest advantage of the opening 20 minutes. However, Loras closed the half with an 11-0 run to cut the margin to 32-29 at intermission.
The Knights regained a double-digit advantage near the end of the third quarter and held on to at least an eight-point lead the rest of the way.