Bulldogs bounce back on day two of Cattle Classic
By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant
SEWARD, Neb. – One night after suffering their first defeat of the season, the Concordia women’s basketball bounced back with an 80-63 win over Valley City State (N.D.) in its second and final game of the Cattle Classic.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead off a Tracy Peitz jumper at the 18:30 mark. Valley City State kept things interesting throughout the first half, however, until the Bulldogs were able to close the first half with a 9-3 run. Concordia shot well in the first half, connecting on 13 of 27 field goals and shooting 48 percent. They led at the intermission, 40-27.
The Bulldogs were able to build off their momentum at the close of the half and carry it into the second half as Kristen Conahan got things started with a three pointer to spark a 10-4 run. A three point shot by freshman Becky Mueller gave the Bulldogs what would be their biggest lead of the night, 64-38. The stingy Bulldog defense caused 27 turnovers by Valley City State, which Concordia was able to capitalize on for 34 points.
“We played with a lot better focus today, especially on the defensive end,” Head coach Drew Olson said. “We weren’t completely focused all 40 minutes, but we’re getting better.”
The well-balanced Concordia attack saw five different Bulldogs in double digits. Senior guard Kristen Conahan led the way with 15 points. She was assisted by junior guard Tracy Peitz who dropped in 14 points while fellow junior Bailey Morris chipped in with 13 of her own. Junior forward Jericca Pearson and junior guard Kelsey Hizer added 12 and 11 points respectively.
Pearson, Concordia’s representative on the all-tournament team, explained the intensity it took to come out on top and the difference between their games in the first and second rounds of the Cattle Classic.
“Last night, we were really good offensively. We played a hard, competitive team and we lacked defense. Today we came out, we perfected our defense and got stops and that’s why we won the game today.”
With tough competition early in the season, the Bulldogs are hopeful that it will only mean good things for them down the road.
“Competition is good,” Pearson said. “It prepares us for the long run and it makes us better as a team. We play hard and we need to keep playing harder.”
With a young squad and several freshmen getting more and more minutes, Olson commented on the newcomers to the program.
“They are young,” Olson said. “We’re trying to grow them up quickly with the schedule that we have, but they’ve got a lot of talent. They’re figuring out their role on the team and the speed and physicality is different. They’re adjusting and hopefully they’re growing up.”
Pearson shared similar insight.
“A lot of the young ones are stepping up,” Pearson said. “They’re helping out, they’re scoring points. They’re learning from the older and experienced (players). They’re fitting into the role and fitting into the Bulldog style.”
Looking ahead, Concordia will prepare to host a strong Morningside team to open up conference play inside Walz Arena on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. The matchup will be another test for the Bulldogs as both teams were projected to tie for the conference championship.
“That’s a really tough team,” Olson said. “Hopefully we’ll be prepared for them. They’re ranked number three. I know they’re a good team. They’ve got some new guards but their post players are phenomenal.”
“We’ve just need to do what we have been doing,” Pearson said. “We need to work on our shooting, work on our defense and maybe prepare for their zone defense a little bit but other than that, just keep shooting and keep playing.”
CATTLE CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Jordan Bridges, Jamestown
Hannah Dostal, Doane
Kelsey Hunter, Valley City State
Jericca Pearson, Concordia
Hannah Steele, Jamestown
10 November 2013
Junior Kelsey Hizer