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Milestone Season

The 2013-14 Concordia women’s basketball team has been busy racking up milestones throughout a solid season.

Concordia entered the season nationally ranked, the preseason NSIC favorite and armed with the league’s Preseason Player of the Year, junior Anika Whiting (Ashland, Wis.). Whiting also became the first of three players to top 1,000 career points. She was followed by senior Rachel Hansen (Eagan, Minn.) and senior Carissa Wolyniec (Minneapolis).

That all three of them reached the 1,000 point club in team victories is telling of their careers and the program. In addition to the individual scoring milestones, the program is just one victory shy of the 11th 20-win season for head coach Paul Fessler. Additionally, Fessler’s Golden Bears are just two wins away from netting his 400th career win overall and three wins away from his 300th at Concordia.

Along with the 1,000 point club, Whiting’s 91.3% free throw percentage on the season ranks sixth in the country, while Wolyniec’s 2.9 three-pointers made per game is 13th and her 42.4% three-point percent is the 17th most prolific rate in the nation this year. While Hansen topped 1,000 points and set the free throw record, she’s also 13th nationally in assist-to-turnover (2.2) and 21st in assists per game (5.0).

While the offensive numbers have been outstanding on a national level, so has the interior defense as sophomore Kionda Nicks (St. Paul, Minn.) is 18th in the country with 2.4 blocked shots per game.

The gaudy individual stats place Concordia among the nation’s elite as a team. The Golden Bears are the best in the nation at taking care of the ball, committing just 11.6 turnovers per game while ranking fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) and seventh in blocked shots per game (5.2).

The trio has led Concordia to a 19-8 overall record and 14-6 NSIC record with one weekend of NSIC games left. The excellent season has the team set to host an NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament first round game on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at Gangelhoff Center. The conference tournament is especially important this season, as the three-time NSIC Tournament champs might need to win the tournament in order to reach their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance under Fessler since the 2002-03 campaign.