Conahan blisters the nets to lead win in hometown Omaha
OMAHA, Neb. – Poor weather conditions may have slowed the arrival of the officials, but the delay of more than 20 minutes did not stop the fifth-ranked Concordia women’s basketball team. The Bulldogs picked up a second-straight road win over a top 25 opponent, escaping with a 96-89 win over No. 23 College of Saint Mary on Tuesday night in Omaha. Head coach Drew Olson’s squad improved to 3-0 on the young season.
“There were a lot of moments where we played really well,” Olson said. “I was happy with how we continued to compete on the road in a close game against a top 25 team. Down the stretch we had to buckle down and get a stop, get a bucket and we were able to do that.
“We’re still learning and growing as a team.”
Playing close to home, junior guard Kristen Conahan (Millard North) and freshman forward Becky Mueller (Omaha Concordia) lit up the nets early on, combining to make four of their first five 3-point attempts. Their outside sniping, along with a big night from junior Tracy Peitz (career high 22 points) allowed Concordia to stave off the Flames’ late rally.
Conahan buried 4 of 9 shots from beyond the arc on Tuesday, making her 9-for-20 on the season. Despite battling an injury that kept her out of the season opener, Conahan has 41 points in her first two games.
Behind Conahan’s sharp shooting and Peitz’s career night, Concordia rolled up a lead as large as 22 points in the second half. The Bulldogs led 73-51 after a big spurt out of the gates for a seemingly comfortable advantage.
But the host Flames weren’t ready to pack it in. They leaned upon junior guard Tiffany Anzalone (22 points), who helped slice the lead all the way down to two at 87-85 in the final minutes.
Concordia tightened up defensively down the stretch and Peitz made several key free throws to allow Olson’s crew to hang on for the victory.
“Tracy’s going to be a stud,” Olson said. “She had a great matchup all game. We kept going to her in different ways and thankfully she really worked on her free throw shooting in the offseason. It paid off tonight.”
After trailing 10-9 early on, Concordia went on a 9-2 run that culminated with a 3-pointer from Mueller. That run was dwarfed by the Bulldogs’ 18-4 run soon after that made it 36-18 in the latter stages of the first half.
Junior Jericca Pearson came on strong late and finished with 18 points and six rebounds. Mueller got all 10 of her points in the first half while junior guard Bailey Morris added eight points and four assists.
Both teams shot 50 percent or better on the night. Concordia knocked down 52.1 percent (37 of 71) of its shots compared to 50.0 percent (29 of 58) shooting from the Flames. The Bulldogs made 15 of 17 free throws. Peitz was 7-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Wet road conditions slowed down traffic on Tuesday, causing the game’s officials to arrive late. The start of the game was delayed by roughly 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs continue a challenging nonconference slate with the 14th annual Cattle Classic hosted by Concordia University on Friday and Saturday. Concordia will take on No. 10 Jamestown (N.D.) at 6 p.m. on Friday prior to a 5 p.m. battle with Valley City State (N.D.) on Saturday. Both opponents reached the national tournament last season.
For more information on the Cattle Classic, click HERE.
5 November 2013