Bulldog hoops welcomes Morningside Saturday evening

Bulldog hoops welcomes Morningside Saturday evening

SEWARD, Neb. – As part of a tripleheader of Saturday home events, Concordia welcomes Morningside for a women’s and men’s doubleheader in the evening. The women will tip off at 5 p.m. with the men to follow approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the women’s game.

Fans are encouraged to wear white as part of the white-out ‘DawgStrong’ promotion. DawgStrong t-shirts can be purchased/picked up Thursday and Friday in Janzow top from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. both days. The shirts cost $5 apiece.

For those unable to make it to Walz Arena on Saturday night, live webcasts will be provided via the Concordia Sports Network.

WOMEN: No. 3 Morningside (5-0) at No. 5 Concordia (4-1), 5 p.m.

No-loss November
Head coach Drew Olson’s Bulldogs have been dominant in the month of November over the last three seasons. Concordia went 8-0 in 2011-12 and 8-0 in 2012-13 before starting this season at 3-0 in November. The Bulldogs won 20-consecutive games in November until being upset, 77-74, by No. 10 Jamestown on Nov. 8 at the Cattle Classic. Concordia is now 20-1 in November over the past three seasons.

Our house
Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Concordia is 31-5 at home. That mark includes a 22-3 mark against conference opponents. All five homes losses since the beginning of the 2011-12 season have come to teams ranked in the top 25: No. 13 Morningside (69-66 – 12/3/11), No. 10 CU-Ann Arbor (73-69 – 1/26/13), No. 9 Briar Cliff (89-80 – 2/6/13), No. 8 Northwestern (85-83 – 2/23/13) and No. 10 Jamestown (77-74 – 11/8/13).

Concordia-Morningside: a national showcase
Saturday’s matchup marks the fifth-consecutive meeting in which both the Bulldogs and Mustangs carried top-five national rankings into play. Concordia has had the upper hand in each of the last four games with Morningside, including a season sweep last season. In last season’s meeting in Seward, the then No. 1-ranked Bulldogs won 78-66 over the then No. 4 Mustangs in the NAIA Game of the Week. Bailey Morris enjoyed a career day with 27 points (10-for-17 shooting), five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Last 10 meetings:
1/12/13 – Concordia 78-66 (Seward)
12/1/12 – Concordia 80-76 (Sioux City)
2/28/12 – Concordia 73-66 (Seward)
1/14/12 – Concordia 74-65 (Sioux City)
12/3/11 – Morningside 69-66 (Seward)
2/12/11 – Morningside 79-63 (Sioux City)
11/20/10 – Morningside 89-74 (Seward)
2/25/10 – Morningside 72-59 (Sioux City)
1/16/10 – Concordia 60-52 (Seward)
1/24/09 – Morningside 84-65 (Sioux City)

Juniors take flight
Concordia has leaned heavily upon its talented junior class so far this season. Jericca Pearson, a junior from Gibbon, Neb., has played the best basketball of her career in the early going and is averaging 14.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 1.0 block per game. Pearson has already been named to all-tournament teams at the Grand View Classic and at Concordia’s own Cattle Classic.

Fellow junior Tracy Peitz has rivaled Pearson for title of the team’s breakout performer. The native of Hartington, Neb., went for a career high 22 points in Concordia’s win at No. 23 College of Saint Mary. On the season, Peitz is averaging 15.4 points, 3.6 steals and 3.0 rebounds per game while shooting 55.1 percent from the field.

Of course there’s also star guard Bailey Morris in the junior class. Morris, who hails from Roseland, Neb., is one of four Bulldogs averaging double figures at 14.8 points per contest. She has also contributed 4.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.2 steals per contest.

Connie on the chase
Returning first team All-American guard Kristen Conahan continues her pursuit of the program’s all-time scoring record. With 1,440 career points, the Omaha native stands 360 points of the record set by Sarah Harrison (2001-05). Despite battling an injury, “Connie” has done nothing but knock down shots. She leads the team with an average of 16.5 points per game thanks to shooting percentages of 48.9 percent from the field, 45.2 percent from 3 and 100 percent (8-for-8) from the foul line. In her first four games, she has posted point totals of 21, 20, 10 and 15, respectively. She has registered in double-figures in 14-consecutive games.

Morris pursues 1,000 points
Junior guard Bailey Morris is aiming to become the 22nd player in Concordia women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career points. Kristen Conahan and Katie Rich both eclipsed that number last season. Through 73 career games, Morris has tallied 847 points. Based on her current scoring average of 14.8, the Roseland, Neb., native projects to reach 1,000 career points in 11 games.

High-powered Mustangs start fast
Third-ranked Morningside, led by 13th-year head coach Jamie Sale (326-96, .773), has blitzed each of its first five opponents. The Mustangs have averaged 91.2 points per game (seventh in NAIA Division II) to go with an average margin of victory of 32.2 points. Behind forward Ashlynn Muhl (team leading 16.8 ppg and 9.4 rpg), Morningside has defeated No. 17 Grand View, 94-56, and put up 131 points in a 43-point blowout of Olivet Nazarene, who received votes in the preseason national poll. Like Concordia, the Mustangs employ a frenetic uptempo style that influences forcing turnovers and pushing the ball in transition. Leann Osten is the national leader with 23 steals (4.6 per game).

MEN: Morningside (2-2) at Concordia (2-3), 7 p.m.

Two in a row
First-year head coach Ben Limback’s Bulldogs enter the weekend with momentum after winning two straight since dropping the first three of the season. Each of Concordia’s losses have come to ranked teams. The Bulldogs finally ended their losing streak to top 25 opponents when they upset No. 13 Oklahoma Wesleyan, 85-76, on Nov. 9 at the Cattle Classic. Senior Adam Vogt poured in a career high 26 points and made all 10 free throw attempts to lead the surprise of the Eagles. Concordia then followed it up with an 87-72 win over Grace University on Tuesday night.

Your shot’s weak
Sophomore Robbie Thomas has emerged, along with Adam Vogt, as one of the team’s brightest performers. The Shawnee, Kan., native ranks as the GPAC’s top shot blocker with 14 for an average of 2.8 per game. Only one player in NAIA Division II has more denials than the 6-foot-7 Thomas.

In addition, Thomas already has three double-doubles. He enjoyed a huge night on Tuesday with a career high 16 points as part of a line that included 10 rebounds, five assists and five blocks. Through five games, Thomas is averaging 11.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.8 blocks while playing an average of 32.8 minutes per game.

Morningside looks to extend series winning streak
The Mustangs have earned a season sweep of Concordia in each of the past two seasons, giving them a four-game winning streak in the series. The last three meetings have been decided by 17 points or more as Morningside has dominated. In last year’s matchup in Seward, the Bulldogs fell behind early and never recovered. The Mustangs shot 48.4 percent and outrebounded Concordia 38-31. Then senior forward Brent Houchin led the Bulldogs with 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting off the bench.

Last 10 meetings:
1/12/13: Morningside 86-64 (Seward)
12/1/12: Morningside 87-70 (Sioux City)
1/14/12: Morningside 80-54 (Sioux City)
12/3/11: Morningside 77-71 (Seward)
2/12/11: Concordia 81-78 (Sioux City)
11/20/10: Concordia 76-67 (Seward)
1/16/10: Concordia 75-73 (Seward)
1/24/09: Morningside 79-76 (Sioux City)
12/6/08: Concordia 61-56 (Seward)
2/2/08: Morningside 78-69 (OT – Seward)

Vogt sizzles
Syracuse, Neb., native Adam Vogt has thrived in his new role as Concordia’s primary shooter and scorer. After averaging a career best 10.1 points last season, the 5-foot-9 guard has jumped to 17.2 points per game this season. He has knocked down 11 of 33 (33.3 percent) attempts from beyond the arc and has been near automatic from the free throw line (31-for-35 – 88.6 percent). Vogt brings an active streak of 19-consecutive made free throw attempts in Saturday’s game. In his career, Vogt has 586 points in 81 games.

Freshmen bigs show growth
With junior Joel Haywood and sophomore Max Wegener both missing time due to injury, Limback has leaned upon a host of newcomers. Freshmen post men Chandler Folkerts (Milford, Neb.) and Justin Damme (Johnson County, Neb.) have taken advantage of their opportunities. The duo proved to be a handful for Grace as they combined for 29 points and 12 rebounds in the victory. Damme set early career highs with 15 points and seven rebounds. Folkerts affectively attacked the basket and notched six of his points from the free throw line, where he was perfect on the night. With Wegener out, Folkerts is the team’s third-leading scorer at 10.2 points per game. Damme is averaging 7.8 points and 4.6 rebounds.

Ziegler heats it up from deep
Freshman Eli Ziegler has teamed with Vogt to give Concordia a solid 1-2 punch from the perimeter. The sharpshooter from Littleton, Colo., has made nine of his first 18 shots from 3-point range. The 6-foot guard nailed 3 of 6 attempts from long distance on the way to reaching double figures (13 points) for the first time in his career in the victory over Grace. He is averaging 7.4 points as part of a balanced offensive attack.

Hot-shooting Morningside invades Walz Arena
Eleventh-year head coach Jim Sykes’ (194-111, .632) squad is 2-2 on the season with a season-opening upset of No. 7 William Penn University on its résumé. The Mustangs have suffered narrow losses to Grand View University (90-89) and to Ashford University (69-63) in their early tour of the NAIA’s Midwest Collegiate Conference. Morningside, led by marksman Danny Rudeen (22.0 ppg, 13-for-27 from 3) is known as a 3-point shooting team. Sykes’ crew ranked 17th in NAIA Division II last season with 8.3 3-point field goals per game and sits seventh so far this season with an average of 10.8 treys per game. Rudeen and junior guard Tanner Miller (10-for-23 3-point shooting) are deadly from the outside.

14 November 2013

Senior Kristen Conahan

Freshman Justin Damme