BY KIT GRODE
PHOTOS BY SAM GENTRY
VIDEO BY SARA FISHMAN AND COLTON SPEARMAN
The Cardinal Stritch University Wolves upset the St. Ambrose University Queen Bees in the sixth game of the night, defeating the Bees 74-48. Cardinal Stritch entered the national championship with a 24-6 overall record after going 14-4 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC). St. Ambrose came into the championship after a 26-5 regular season record and going undefeated in the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC).
The Bees initially had a difficult time putting points on the board, but the tempo picked up six minutes into the first half, when the Bees tied, and passed, the Wolves to take the lead for the first time. The teams passed points, and the lead, back and forth until the Wolves pulled ahead to lead 33-25 at the half.
Freshman Katie Jensen led the Bees at the half with 10 points and seven of the team’s 19 rebounds. Senior Julie Raeder led the Wolves in points, putting up eight of the team’s total 33. Teammate Michelle Piepenburg followed her with six points of her own and retrieving eight of Cardinal Stritch’s 27 rebounds.
“We had to keep taking it to them because it’s the national championship; you never know what’s going to happen,” said Emily Neitzel, Wolves’ sophomore guard.
Coming out of halftime, although the Bees put up additional points first, the Wolves pulled away to stretch the lead to a full 20 points by the middle of the second half. Their lead continued to grow even as St. Ambrose put up a fight, ending the game with a 26-point lead over the Bees.
“I think we had really good pressure and we were focused on the posts; we wanted ot make sure they didn’t get their touches and then play inside-out from there,” Raeder said. “I thought we boarded really well.”
Raeder led both teams in points with 16 as teammate Peipenburg continued to grab the rebounds to get a total of 12. In comparison, St. Ambrose’s Jensen put up a total of 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Wolves will next play the Jamestown Jimmies tomorrow evening at 5:15 p.m.
“We’re going to play them tough and play our best,” Raeder said. “We’ll play as a team and just do the best we can.”