Top-seeded Gustavus crunches Cobbers for MIAC tournament championship

Kylie Baranick scored a game-high 24 points to lead Gustavus past the Cobbers and earn the MIAC's automatic bid for the NCAA Division III tournament.

Concordia forward Makayla Anderson (22) elevates for a shot against Gustavus on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, during the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's basketball championship game in St. Peter, Minn.
Eli Simonson / Concordia Sports Information

ST. PETER, Minn. — Gustavus ended the first quarter with 11 unanswered points Sunday afternoon at Gus Young Court and the Concordia Cobbers couldn't recover.

The top-seeded Gusties got a game-high 24 points from sophomore Kylie Baranick and cruised to a 79-57 victory in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's basketball tournament championship game before 789 fans.

“We knew they would throw a pretty big first punch and obviously they did," said Cobbers head coach Kim Wagers, in her fourth season leading the program.

Gustavus (25-2) earned the MIAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. The Cobbers (22-5) likely saw their season end, unless they receive an at-large bid to the national tournament. The selection show is 1:30 p.m. Monday.

“In my personal opinion, probably not likely, but we have a lot of hope," Wagers said of an at-large bid to the national tournament. "I think we’re a really good team and deserve to be there.”


Concordia forward Makayla Anderson goes up for a contested shot against Gustavus on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's basketball championship game in St. Peter, Minn.
Eli Simonson / Concordia Sports Information

The Cobbers and Gustavus split during their regular season games, but Gustavus rolled to an 82-56 victory in the previous meeting Feb. 8 in St. Peter. Concordia was 14-2 over its past 16 games, with both losses coming to the Gusties, who also won the MIAC regular-season crown.

“We’ve come a long way," Wagers said. “In my first year we were just fighting to get into the conference tournament, let alone play for the championship.”

Concordia — which was the No. 2 seed for the league tournament — was playing in the MIAC championship game for the first time since 2013. The Cobbers last conference tournament crown came in 2011.

The Gusties scored the final 11 points in the first quarter to surge into the lead for good. Junior guard Syd Hauger scored four points during that stretch. Sophomore forward Rachel Kawiecki capped the rally with a close-range basket for a 26-16 lead with nine seconds to play in the opening quarter.

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Gustavus never trailed in the final three quarters. Concordia shot 36% (19 of 53) from the floor and 25% (6 of 24) from 3-point range for the game.

“We didn’t shoot it overly well the whole game," Wagers said. “I thought we got some decent looks, it’s just a matter if they go or not.”

The Gusties led by as many as 13 points multiple times in the second quarter. Senior guard Anna Sanders had 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting from the floor in the first half to help Gustavus build a 40-27 halftime lead. Sanders finished with 16 points.

Emily Beseman had 11 points in the opening 20 minutes to lead the Cobbers. The 5-foot-7 senior finished with 13 points and three assists.


The Cobbers scored the first four points of the second quarter. They cut the Gustavus lead to 26-20 after Beseman's transition layup with 8 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the first half.

The Gusties countered with a 10-3 surge and took a 36-23 lead after a Sanders basket with 5:29 to play in the second quarter. The Gustavus lead never dipped into single digits after that rally.

Cobber sophomore forward Makayla Anderson had 12 points, three rebounds and three steals. Sophomore guard Carlee Sieben added 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Concordia's 22 wins are the most in a season since the Cobbers posted a 24-5 record in 1989-1990. Concordia had an 8-16 overall record a season ago.

“I’m not quite ready for (this season) to be over, but also really excited for the future," Wagers said.

CC 16 27 40 57
GAC 26 40 61 79

CC (22-5): Guler 1-3 0-0 3, Sieben 4-10 0-0 12, Safranski 0-0 0-0 0, Beseman 3-5 6-10 13, Anderson 5-10 2-2 12, Beld 0-3 0-0 0, Kahler 0-9 2-2 2, Sem 4-9 1-2 9, Tollefson 2-2 0-0 5, Musland 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 19-53 13-18 57.

GAC (25-2): Queensland 0-3 0-0 0, Kniefel 3-9 5-5 11, Bruns 0-0 0-0 0, Hauger 4-4 2-4 11, Schermann 0-3 0-0 0, Baranick 5-9 12-12 24, Schnell 0-0 0-0 0, Kelly 1-3 0-0 2, Benz 5-6 1-2 11, Kawiecki 2-5 0-2 4, Sanders 7-14 0-0 16. Totals 27-56 20-25 79.


3-point goals: CC 6-24 (Guler 1-3, Sieben 4-10, Beseman 1-3, Anderson 0-1, Beld 0-2, Kahler 0-4, Musland 0-1), GAC 5-19 (Kniefel 0-1, Baranick 2-5, Sanders 2-7, Queensland 0-2, Hauger 1-1, Schermann 0-3). Total fouls: CC 21, GAC 16. Fouled out: Beld. Technical foul: Kawiecki. Rebounds: CC 23 (Sieben 5, Tollefson 5), GAC 32 (Benz 7). Assists: CC 15 (Sieben 4), GAC 17 (Baranick 6). Turnovers: CC 18, GAC 12.

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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