Weekend hoops preview

Weekend hoops preview

As boy’s and girl’s high school basketball continues on Saturday at Walz Arena as part of the Lutheran Invitational Tournament, the Bulldog men’s and women’s basketball squads will hit the road to face Dordt in a GPAC doubleheader. Here’s a look at the weekend in Concordia hoops.

Women’s Basketball: No. 1 Concordia (15-0, 8-0 GPAC) at Dordt (9-9, 4-5 GPAC), Sioux Center, Iowa, 2 p.m.

Live Webcast | Live Stats

Opponent: Dordt will enter Saturday’s game in eighth place in the GPAC standings, 4.5 games behind the first-place Bulldogs. The Defenders are coming off a 73-65 loss at Hastings on Wednesday in their most recent outing. Prior to the defeat, Dordt had won four of five games, including a 91-74 stunner over No. 6 Briar Cliff. The only loss during that stretch was a tight 64-62 decision against third-ranked Morningside. The Defenders also sport close defeats to then No. 8 Grand View (Iowa) (64-62) and to then No. 11 Jamestown (N.D.) (66-62) on their resume. Dordt is seventh in the GPAC in scoring offense (68.4 ppg) and second in scoring defense (58.4). It also ranks second in both field goal percentage defense (36.8) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.6). Sixth-year head coach Craig Stiemsma (80-87 at Dordt) employs three double-figure scorers: junior forward Kara Van Dyke (13.1 ppg), junior guard Kayla Broekhuis (11.2 ppg) and senior forward Brianna Spronk (10.8 ppg). Van Dyke also leads the team in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and in steals with 33 and her five double-doubles are the second most in the conference this season.

Outlook: Head coach Drew Olson’s squad hopes to end a streak of five-straight games with shooting percentages south of 40 against one of the GPAC’s stingiest defenses. Concordia swept the season series with Dordt in 2011-12 with wins by scores of 65-54 in Seward and 71-64 in Sioux Center. The Bulldogs have won 23-straight contests against GPAC foes and 10 in a row in true road games. While Dordt has put up some impressive defensive statistics roughly halfway through the season, Concordia ranks towards the top of the conference in nearly every major statistical category. It is first in scoring offense (85.9 ppg) and third in scoring defense (59.2). Nationally, the Bulldogs are second in steals per game (18.7), third in scoring margin (plus-26.7) and turnover margin (plus-11.9), fifth in scoring and sixth in 3-point field goals per game (9.2). Individually, junior guard Kristen Conahan ranks third in the league in scoring (15.6 ppg), 3-point field goals per game (2.6) and assists per game (3.47) while leading the GPAC in steals per game (3.73). Sophomore guard Bailey Morris has enjoyed a breakout campaign and is seventh in the GPAC in scoring (14.7 ppg), fifth in free throw percentage (75.9) and second in steals per game (3.13). Dordt will need to continue its steady defensive play to hang with Concordia’s firepower.

Men’s Basketball: Concordia (5-9, 2-6 GPAC) at No. 13 Dordt (14-3, 6-3 GPAC), Sioux Center, Iowa, 4 p.m.

Live Webcast | Live Stats

Opponent: Dordt, which captured the GPAC title last season and advanced to the NAIA national quarterfinals, began this season ranked No. 3 nationally and was the preseason favorite to win the GPAC. The Defenders currently sit just a half-game out of first place, behind both No. 8 Doane and No. 10 Northwestern. Since being upset 71-69 in overtime at Nebraska Wesleyan on Dec. 8, Dordt has won five straight, including three against GPAC opponents. The Defenders’ only other losses came at Doane and at Midland. Fourth-year head coach Ross Douma’s club boasts a 6-0 mark at home where it has won by an average of 23.3 points per game. Overall, Dordt, which scores 80.6 points per game and gives up 66.6, is No. 1 in the GPAC in scoring margin (plus-13.9). Senior guard Cliff Warner paces the Defenders with an average of 15.5 points and 3.9 assists per game while knocking down 63 of 135 attempts (46.7 percent) from deep. His 63 treys are 13 more than the second-leading 3-point shooter in the conference. Senior forward Trevor Wolterstorff is a force inside averaging 13.8 points and a team high 6.5 rebounds.

Outlook: It doesn’t get any easier for a Bulldog bunch looking to snap an eight-game losing streak. Head coach Marty Kohlwey’s squad will be playing a ranked opponent for the third-straight game and for the fifth time in the past seven contests when it takes the floor on Saturday. The Defenders have won four in a row in the series, including three wins over Concordia last season. Dordt, then ranked No. 2 in the nation, narrowly topped the Bulldogs in overtime (87-83) in Seward on Jan. 7 last year. Concordia is now 2-4 in true road games after winning its first two contests away from Walz Arena. Kohlwey hopes his team can tighten a perimeter defense that has allowed 44.8 percent (30-for-67) 3-point shooting over the last three games. However, Dordt ranks second in the GPAC with a stellar 40.7 percent clip from long range. A key will be keeping senior post Porter Birtell, the GPAC’s ninth-leading scorer (15.1 ppg), out of foul trouble against a Defender team that is second in the GPAC in rebound margin (plus-9.1). The Bulldogs would also like to see capable shooters in senior Beau Smith (13.1 ppg), junior Adam Vogt (10.8 ppg) and sophomore Joel Haywood (10.2 ppg) catch fire from the outside in their bid for their first win this season against a top 25 foe.

4 January 2013

Kristen Conahan

Joey Werning