In the third match-up between the top two teams in the Iowa Conference, nationally ranked No. 2 Wartburg women’s basketball team defeated Luther 86-74 in the championship game of the Iowa Conference Tournament at Levick Arena Saturday. The victory secured the league’s automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA III National Tournament for the Knights.
   After Wartburg jumped out to an early 9-3 lead, the Norse outscored the Knights 20-10 over the final 6:52 of the first quarter and held a 23-19 advantage. Luther maintained the lead until 1:01 remaining in the second quarter, when Katie Sommer connected on one of her six three-pointers, leveling the game at 39-39. The teams went to their halftime locker rooms tied a 41-41.
   With 4:19 left in the third quarter, Wartburg held a slim 54-53 advantage. The Knights exploded for 13 unanswered points and never trailed the rest of the game.
   The Wartburg defense held Luther to 47 percent shooting and also forced the Norse to turn the ball over 17 times. On the flip-side, the Knights shot 53 percent for the game that included a 12-of-28 effort from behind the three-point line.
   Luther was lead by Katie Waller, who scored 19 points. Claire Marburger added 13 and Anna Edel contributed a career-high 10.
   Wartburg was led by reigning Iowa Conference MVP Katie Sommer, who scored 17 of her 23 points in the second half. Morgan Neuendorf was credited with 22 and Emma Gerdes chipped in 11.
   The win gives Wartburg a mark of 27-0. The Norse conclude the 2017-18 campaign with a 19-10 record.