Game notes: Friday battle features GPAC title contenders

Game notes: Friday battle features GPAC title contenders

SEWARD, Neb. – Seventh-ranked Concordia looks to extend its winning streak to six heading into Christmas as it welcomes Dakota Wesleyan (10-2, 4-1 GPAC) for a 6 p.m. tipoff on Friday. Eighth-year head coach Drew Olson’s Bulldogs (11-2, 6-1 GPAC) are 6-2 at home this season and 36-6 (.857) inside Walz Arena over the past three seasons.

The game will be streamed live and free online via the Concordia Sports Network. Lucas Mohrman will handle the play-by-play duties.

Walz unforgiving to opponents
Included in Concordia’s 36-6 home record over the last three seasons is three victories over Friday’s opponent. Walz Arena has been particularly unkind to Dakota Wesleyan, which has lost seven straight dating back to an 82-72 overtime Tiger victory in Seward in the GPAC Tournament on Feb. 21, 2006. Since then, Dakota Wesleyan has been no closer than nine points in terms of final margin. Dakota Wesleyan’s only wins in the series over the past 10 meetings (see below) have all occurred in Mitchell, S.D. Since the formation of the GPAC in 2000, Concordia is 10-3 at home against Dakota Wesleyan.

Last 10 meetings:
1/20/13 – Dakota Wesleyan 72-61 (Mitchell)
12/8/12 – Concordia 78-58 (Seward)
2/22/12 – Concordia 93-63 (Seward)
1/21/12 – Concordia 68-59 (Seward)
12/10/11 – Concordia 62-49 (Mitchell)
1/16/11 – Dakota Wesleyan 103-97 OT (Mitchell)
12/4/10 – Concordia 95-63 (Seward)
2/6/10 – Concordia 78-56 (Seward)
12/5/09 – Dakota Wesleyan 53-46 (Mitchell)
2/18/09 – Concordia 82-67 (Mitchell)

Last week
Concordia overmatched all three of its opponents in winning by an average margin of 30.7 points. Inside the conference, the Bulldogs defeated both Nebraska Wesleyan and Mount Marty. Sandwiched between those two contests was a nonconference rout of York. Junior guard Bailey Morris put up 20, 26 and 15 points, respectively, in the three victories and was named the GPAC Player of the Week on Tuesday. She had plenty of help as five other Bulldogs posted at least one double-figure scoring effort on the week. Backcourt mate Kristen Conahan also put up 21 and 22-point efforts as part of a big offensive week. Concordia averaged nearly 100 points per game over the three wins.

Morris shoots for 1,000 points
Bailey Morris will aim to become the 26th player in program history to reach 1,000 points when she takes the court on Friday. Morris, now at 984 points in 81 career games, will reach the career milestone if she simply aligns her performance with her career high season average of 16.2 points per game. The native of Roseland, Neb., is already up to 211 points this season following 467 as a sophomore and 306 as a freshman.

Turnovers = points
Concordia forced a total of 82 turnovers last week and held a combined advantage of 97-28 in points off turnovers. Known as a ballhawking pressure team, the Bulldogs rank No. 3 in NAIA Division II in turnover margin (plus-8.39). On the season, Concordia has forced 314 turnovers while committing only 205 as part of a frenetic uptempo style. Those turnovers have helped Olson’s squad take 172 more shots than its opponents and outscore them by an average of 88.0 – 74.7.

Career years
Several Bulldogs are enjoying career seasons in one or more statistical categories. In terms of scoring, senior Kristen Conahan leads the way with a career best average of 17.7 points. Among Concordia’s standout class of juniors, Bailey Morris (16.2), Tracy Peitz (14.5), Jericca Pearson (12.5) and Kelsey Hizer (5.1) are all posting the best scoring averages of their careers. Peitz has made the biggest jump, going from 7.3 points last season to 14.5 this year. She also has the best numbers of her career in several other categories: rebounds (4.4), steals (3.5), assists (2.6), field goal percentage (56.0), 3-point percentage (41.2) and free throw percentage (68.9). Pearson has also improved significantly going from 7.8 points and 5.1 rebounds last season to 12.5 points and 7.0 boards this season.

Scouting Dakota Wesleyan
Dakota Wesleyan, led by fourth-year head coach Jason Christensen, boasts a highly efficient offense that rates among the best in NAIA Division II in several categories. The Tigers rank fifth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.37), sixth in assists per game (20.1), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (.367), 10th in 3-point field goals per game (8.3), 16th in field goal percentage (.443) and 17th in points per game (80.1). The offensive output comes from a variety of sources as six players average 9.0 points or more, led by the 12.8 per game from Amanda Hart. Celeste Beck is deadly from beyond the arc, where she is shooting 48.1 percent (26-for-54). The Tigers’ (10-2, 4-1 GPAC) only losses have come to then No. 6 Roosevelt University and to then No. 12 Briar Cliff (by a single point). Their most impressive win to date was an 85-74 triumph at No. 10 Midland.

19 December 2013

Junior Bailey Morris enters Friday's game versus Dakota Wesleyan with 984 career points. Twenty-five players have reached 1,000 points in program history.