Showdown with Dakota Wesleyan looms for first-place Concordia

By Jake Knabel on Jan. 9, 2017 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – Now 10-0 in conference play for the first time since the 2002-03 season, the second-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team will simply attempt to maintain its impressive game-to-game focus. The second half of the GPAC schedule starts on Wednesday when Midland (11-6, 4-5 GPAC) pays a visit to Walz Arena for a 6 p.m. CT tipoff. In a rare Sunday tilt, the Bulldogs will trek to No. 8 Dakota Wesleyan (15-2, 6-2 GPAC) for a 2 p.m. CT start.

Both games will be aired on 104.9 Max Country. Wednesday’s game will be webcast live via the Concordia Sports Network. Sunday’s contest can be seen live via Dakota Wesleyan’s Stretch Internet portal.

Last week brought two more anticlimactic wins. Back in action for the first time since the Hoop N Surf Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Bulldogs pummeled Briar Cliff, 86-63, at home and Dordt, 81-43, on the road. Eleventh-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has won 17-straight games. Included in that stretch were victories over both of this week’s opponents. Back on Dec. 3, Concordia held off then No. 1 Dakota Wesleyan, 85-82, in a classic affair that came down to the final possession.

Any team hoping to have success against the Bulldogs will have to find ways to navigate their press. The Chargers and Defenders failed miserably in that regard last week, turning it over a combined 70 times. Concordia opponents have committed an average of 27.8 turnovers per game. Junior guard Mary Janovich has been the biggest pest for the opposition. She is averaging 2.9 steals per outing.

An element that makes the Bulldog press so terrifying is the richness of depth off the bench. No single player is averaging more than 22.3 minutes per game. A dozen players play more than 10 minutes per contest. Four players average in double figures in scoring: Philly Lammers (12.3), Janovich (11.7), Quinn Wragge (10.7) and Dani Andersen (10.4).

Concordia maintains lofty national rankings in many key statistical categories: second in steals per game (17.2), second in turnover margin (plus-10.1), fourth in scoring margin (plus-26.0), fifth in scoring offense (84.2), sixth in free throw percentage (.770), seventh in 3-point field goals per game (9.2), 13th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.271), 14th in assist-to-turnover ratio (plus-1.07), 17th in scoring defense (58.2), 18th in field goal percentage (.437), 21st in field goal percentage defense (.361) and 26th in blocks per game (3.6).

Midland is fresh off of back-to-back overtime losses that came last week against Northwestern (84-81 in double overtime) and No. 6 Hastings (81-76 in overtime). Prior to those heartbreakers, the Warriors had won five of six games. During that run, they upset No. 12 Morningside in Sioux City. Midland’s brightest star is junior guard Joelle Overkamp, who leads the team in scoring, rebounding and steals. In the first meeting, the Bulldogs handled the Warriors, 89-50, in Fremont.

Dakota Wesleyan enters the week with a four-game win streak since a 65-62 loss at Hastings on Dec. 10. In their most recent outing, the Tigers escaped Orange City, Iowa, with a 78-75 victory over Northwestern. Leading scorer Ashley Bray performed in a big way, averaging 23.0 points and 6.5 rebounds over last week’s pair of wins. Like Concordia, Dakota Wesleyan has no shortage of scoring options. The team’s top six scorers all average more than 8.0 points per game. The Tigers began this season with 10-consecutive wins before falling at Walz Arena.

Next week’s slate will include a trip to College of Saint Mary on Jan. 18 and a visit from No. 12 Morningside on Jan. 21.

Projected lineups

Concordia: 17-1, 10-0 GPAC
G – Shelby Quinn: 7.3 ppg, 4.5 apg, 2.9 rpg, 2.1 spg, .393 fg%
G – Dani Andersen: 10.4 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 1.6 spg, .414 fg%, .389 3-pt fg%
G – Mary Janovich: 11.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.6 apg, 2.9 spg, .529 fg%, .429 3-pt fg%
F – Quinn Wragge: 10.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.9 spg, .569 fg%, .745 ft%
F – Philly Lammers: 12.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.3 spg, .612 fg%, .839 ft% 

Midland: 11-6, 4-5 GPAC
G – Megan Kucks: 16.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.6 spg, .420 fg%
G – Amanda Hansen: 8.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.6 spg, .359 fg%
G – Madison Severson: 6.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.0 spg, .446 fg%, .488 3-pt fg%
G – Joelle Overkamp: 16.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.2 spg, 1.9 apg, .468 fg%
F – Miranda Paul: 7.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, .371 fg%, .344 3-pt fg% 

Dakota Wesleyan: 15-2, 6-2 GPAC
G – Rylie Osthus: 8.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.4 spg, .422 fg%
G – Chesney Nagel: 4.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.1 apg, .455 fg%
F – Erica Herrold: 11.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, .428 fg%, .372 3-pt fg%
F – Amber Bray: 10.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, .508 fg%, .917 ft%
F – Ashley Bray: 13.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.2 spg, .503 fg%, .953 ft%