Game notes: No. 7 Bulldogs host Dordt Saturday

Game notes: No. 7 Bulldogs host Dordt Saturday

SEWARD, Neb. – Eighth-year head coach Drew Olson’s Bulldogs begin a stretch of five-straight home games when they host Dordt College (6-3, 2-2 GPAC) at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Seventh-ranked Concordia (7-2, 3-1 GPAC) is 2-2 at home this season and 32-6 at Walz Arena since the start of the 2011-12 season.

The game will be streamed live and free online via the Concordia Sports Network. Concordia head volleyball coach Scott Mattera will call the action.

Home teams hold serve
The home teams have enjoyed plenty of success in the Concordia-Dordt series (see last 10 meetings below). Since the formation of the GPAC in 2000, the Bulldogs have prevailed in eight of the nine times the Defenders have traveled to Seward. That streak includes two Concordia victories last season. Olson’s squad avenged its upset loss at Dordt on Jan. 5, 2013, by rolling to wins in two later meetings inside Walz Arena. The final one came on Feb. 20 in the GPAC quarterfinals when Jericca Pearson came off the bench to top the Bulldogs with 18 points. Overall, Concordia is 13-5 against Dordt since 2000.

Last 10 meetings:
2/20/13 – Concordia 75-63 (Seward)
2/9/13 – Concordia 87-64 (Seward)
1/5/13 – Dordt 96-86 OT (Sioux Center)
2/11/12 – Concordia 71-64 (Sioux Center)
1/7/12 – Concordia 65-54 (Seward)
1/8/11 – Dordt 71-61 (Seward)
1/9/10 – Dordt 59-46 (Sioux Center)
2/14/09 – Concordia 94-68 (Seward)
2/16/08 – Dordt 80-72 (Sioux Center)
1/13/07 – Concordia 62-49 (Seward)

Last time out
Concordia shook off an upset loss to Hastings last week and picked up an 82-75 victory at Doane on Wednesday. The Bulldogs used their full-court pressure to force 27 Tiger turnovers and build a lead as large as 21 points in the second half. With sophomore guard Shelbi Bittinger leading the way, Doane nearly came all the way as it got within two points in the final two minutes. The Bulldogs scored the next four points and regained control of the game. Junior Tracy Peitz had another big day with 18 points and seven steals. Senior Kristen Conahan added 13 points and junior Bailey Morris chipped in 12 points and four assists. Concordia has now won each of the last five meetings with Doane.

Bulldogs a fixture among nation’s top 10
While Concordia fell two spots in this week’s NAIA Division II coaches’ top 25 poll, its placement at No. 7 extended its streak to 27-consecutive top-10 rankings. Last season the Bulldogs held the No. 1 rating for the campaign’s first four polls before settling in at No. 9 to close 2012-13. Concordia has lived inside the top 10 since moving up to No. 9 on Nov. 28, 2011. Since the start of the 2001-02 season, the Bulldogs have been ranked among the nation’s top 10 teams in 80 polls, including 13 No. 1 ratings.

Connie extends double-figure scoring streak
Senior guard Kristen Conahan, a 2012-13 NAIA First Team All-American, scored 13 points on Wednesday to extend her consecutive games streak of double figure point totals to 22. In 108 career games, the Omaha native has tallied 10 or more points in 85 times. She is up to 1,521 career points (Sarah Harrison owns the school record with 1,800).

  • National ranks: Among all NAIA Division II players, ‘Connie’ leads the nation in free throw percentage (97.1), ranks 15th in 3-point field goals per game (3.0), 30th in points per game (18.4) and 48th in 3-point field goal percentage (40.0).
  • Almost perfect: Conahan is 33-for-34 this season from the free throw line. She misfired on her second attempt from the charity stripe on Wednesday to end a string of 31-straight makes.

Morris sits 92 points away from 1,000
After scoring 12 points at Doane on Wednesday, junior guard Bailey Morris needs 92 to reach 1,000 for her career. Morris, a native of Roseland, Neb., would become the 22nd member of the program’s 1,000-point club. In her sights is assistant coach Amy Harms, who racked up 1,013 points from 1999-2003. Morris is averaging a career high 15.0 points per game this season.

Where the Bulldogs rank in national statistical categories
Concordia ranks in the top 50 among NAIA Division II teams in the following categories:

  • No. 4 in steals per game (14.2)
  • No. 6 in free throw percentage (77.5)
  • No. 7 in total steals (128)
  • No. 8 in turnover margin (plus-7.1)
  • No. 13 in scoring offense (84.1)
  • No. 30 in assist/turnover ratio (0.91)
  • No. 31 in total scoring offense (757)
  • No. 34 in field goal percentage (.425)
  • No. 36 in scoring margin (plus-6.4)
  • No. 41 in assists per game (14.2)
  • No. 45 in 3-point field goals per game (5.89)
  • No. 49 in total assists (128)
  • No. 50 in total 3-point field goals (53)

Laboda returns to action
Senior forward Lori Laboda, who missed the team’s first eight games due to injury, returned to the court in Wednesday’s win. She knocked down a couple of baseline jumpers on the way to scoring four points. She also grabbed eight rebounds in 12 minutes. The 5-foot-11 native of Parker, Colo., led the team in rebounding in each of the past two seasons.

Notable Career Highs

Britney Birtell
Points: 17 (vs. Tabor, 11-5-11)
Rebounds: 10 (vs. McPherson, 11-2-12
Steals: 4 (vs. Hastings, 2-14-12)
Blocks: 2 (five times) 

Kristen Conahan
Points: 31 (at Midland, 11-27-12)
Rebounds: 8 (vs. College of the Ozarks, 3-12-12)
Assists: 9 (vs. Johnson & Wales (Colo.), 12-30-11)
Steals: 8 (vs. Dakota Wesleyan, 12-8-12 / vs. Cumberlands (Ky.) 12-20-12)
3-point field goals: 8 (vs. Morningside, 11-16-13)

Kelsey Hizer
Points: 16 (vs. Hastings, 11-26-13)
Rebounds: 9 (vs. York, 10-31-11)
Assists: 5 (three times)
Steals: 5 (vs. Cardinal Stritch, 3-7-13)

Ashley Kuntz
Points: 17 (vs. Concordia-Chicago, 1-25-13)
Rebounds: 6 (vs. Nebraska Wesleyan, 1-29-13 / vs. York 11-10-12) 

Lori Laboda
Points: 23 (vs. Briar Cliff, 12-7-11)
Rebounds: 13 (three times – all during the 2011-12 season)
Blocks: 4 (vs. Hastings, 1-8-13 / vs. Bethel (Kan.), 11-16-10)
Steals: 6 (vs. Nebraska Wesleyan, 11-22-11)

Jenna Lehmann
Points: 13 (vs. McPherson, 11-2-12 / vs. York, 11-10-12)
Rebounds: 7 (vs. York, 11-10-12)
Blocks: 3 (at Briar Cliff, 12-5-12) 

Bailey Morris
Points: 28 (vs. Northwestern, 2-23-13)
Rebounds: 9 (at Dakota Wesleyan, 1-20-13)
Assists: 13 (vs. Morningside, 11-16-13)
Steals: 9 (vs. Johnson & Wales (Colo.), 11-9-12)
3-point field goals: 6 (vs. Morningside, 1-12-13) 

Becky Mueller
Points: 14 (at Grand View, 11-2-13)
Rebounds: 8 (vs. Valley City State, 11-9-13)
Blocks: 2 (at College of Saint Mary, 11-5-13)

Jericca Pearson
Points: 18 (four times – most recently at Briar Cliff, 11-23-13)
Rebounds: 15 (vs. Jamestown, 11-8-13)
Blocks: 3 (five times)
Steals: 4 (vs. Cardinal Stritch, 3-9-12) 

Tracy Peitz
Points: 22 (at College of Saint Mary, 11-5-13)
Rebounds: 11 (vs. Morningside, 11-16-13)
Assists: 5 (vs. Concordia-Wisconsin, 1-27-12)
Steals: 7 (at Grand View, 11-2-13)
Blocks: 2 (at Doane, 1-23-13)

Scouting Dordt
Dordt enters play with records of 6-3 overall and 2-2 in GPAC action. Seventh-year head coach Craig Stiemsma’s (93-96, .492) squad is coming off a 100-92 overtime loss to No. 15 Briar Cliff in Sioux Center, Iowa, on Wednesday. The Defenders own conference victories over Doane (80-55) and Mount Marty (68-59). They have fallen to Midland (70-51) and Briar Cliff in conference action. Their most impressive victory, in terms of national rankings, is their 70-49 triumph over then No. 17 Grand View on Nov. 5.

Dordt has three players averaging in double figures: senior forward Elise Maresh (16.3 ppg), senior forward Kara Van Dyke (13.9 ppg) and senior forward Jamie Kok (11.3 ppg). Van Dyke, who is the team’s leading rebounder at 7.8 boards per contest, was a first team all-conference selection last season. She is the catalyst for a team that ranks fifth nationally in free throw percentage (77.8) and 26th in field goal percentage defense (.365).

5 December 2013