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Last GPAC School Falls, Cardinal Stritch Wins 82-71

Emily Neitzel of the Cardinal Stritch squad works to beat Morningside Mustangs' Taylor Bahensk into the lane. Photo by Sara Fishman.
Emily Neitzel of the Cardinal Stritch squad works to beat Morningside Mustangs’ Taylor Bahensk into the lane. Photo by Sara Fishman.

Tonight’s last quarterfinal matchup between the Cardinal Stritch Wolves and the Morningside Mustangs started similarly to the second-round game for the Mustangs, and they lost 82-71.

Morningside found themselves down by nine with 10 minutes to go in the first half–and the frustration of trying “not to lose” showed itself early. But the Mustangs weren’t going into halftime without some sort of fight. Their run-and-gun scheme proved a point as the Mustangs took the lead back 28-26 with 2:21 left in the first half. A foul with only one second remaining had Jamie Sale, Morningside head coach, furious with his team as the pending free throws tied the game at 34. However, on the inbound, Cardinal Stritch’s foul placed Leann Osten at the line for a one-and-one, but she missed and the score remained 34-34.

Leading all scorers at the half was Becky Gilbreth of Cardinal Stritch with seven points. Gilbreth also tallied two rebounds and shot three for seven in the first half.

Morningside’s Ashlynn Muhl started the second half strong with five quick points but the Mustangs never saw more than a five-point lead, and found themselves trailing by six with 14:14 left in the second half.

The Mustangs really couldn’t find a groove in the second half due to very intense defense by Cardinal Stritch, who forced 23 turnovers and scored 27 points off of turnovers. Cardinal Stritch shot 49 percent (27-55) from the field in this game and an impressive 50 percent (five of 10) from three. Cardinal Stritch held sharpshooting Morningside to 29 percent (7-24) from three and just 61 percent (eight of 13) from the free throw line.

This marks the first time that Cardinal Stritch will play in a final four game. The victory also knocked the remaining GPAC team out of the tournament. This also marks the first time since 2007 that no GPAC teams have made the final four and only the second time in the 14-year history of the GPAC that this has happened.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team. We made the final four with three victories, but I really think that it started in practice. We had good practices all season long and it helped us here,” said John Pfaffl, head coach of Cardinal Stritch.

Catch up on previous game recaps:

Round 2: Morningside (Iowa.) vs. College of Saint Mary (Neb.) – Morningside Rallies from 20-Point Deficit, Wins 78-70

Round 2: Cardinal Stritch (Iowa) vs. Jamestown (N.D.) – Wolves Take Down No. 1 Jimmies 76-54

Round 1: Morningside (Iowa) vs. Point Park (Pa.) – Mustangs Run Past Pioneers

Round 1: Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) vs. St. Ambrose (Iowa) – Cardinal Stritch Pulls Ahead to Second Round

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