Hastings pulls away from Concordia in top 10 battle
HASTINGS, Neb. – In a showdown of top 10 teams in Hastings, the ninth-ranked Broncos stayed hot in topping the eighth-ranked Concordia women’s basketball team, 78-65, on Wednesday night. Hastings (19-2, 10-2 GPAC) won for the 15th-straight time while following star guard Jamie Van Kirk’s 16 second half points to victory. The Bulldogs dropped to 16-5 overall and 10-3 in the GPAC.
Leaning upon junior Bailey Morris (team high 22 points), Concordia hoped to hand the host Broncos their first loss since Nov. 23. Morris racked up her second-straight 20-point game and commanded an attack that shot an impressive 48.4 percent in the first half. However, the scoring dried up late when turnovers mounted and Hastings took control.
“To beat a top 10 team on the road you can’t turn the ball over the way we did,” Bulldog head coach Drew Olson said. “We played well in the first half but we didn’t play the way we are capable of after that. We need to be a lot more efficient.”
The Bulldogs held a six-point early second half lead until Van Kirk began making shot after shot. She splashed home 13 points in the first 10 minutes of the second stanza to help the Broncos build an eight point lead. Hastings later pulled away late by holding Concordia without a field goal over the last five minutes of action.
The game’s final minutes were a departure from the bulk of the contest’s first 20-plus minutes when Olson’s squad operated successfully on the offensive end. Junior Tracy Peitz notched all of her 11 points in the first half. As a team, Concordia committed 16 of its 25 turnovers in the second half. It lost the turnover battle (25-15) for only the second time all season.
Down low, a guard-oriented Bulldog lineup did a respectable job of limiting 6-foot-4 center Laurel Zwiener, who went 5-for-10 from the floor. She totaled 19 points and four rebounds. Concordia actually held a 36-34 rebound advantage against the taller Bronco squad.
“Our post defense was good. It could be better. Zwiener is a tough matchup for our team. Holding her to 19 is pretty good.”
Sophomore Taylor Wissing provided a lift off the bench for Concordia with a career best nine points. She made all three attempts from the field, including a pair of treys. In addition, junior Kelsey Hizer went for double digits for the second-consecutive game as she put a dozen.
Hastings, guided by head coach Carrie Hoffstetter, began its 15-game winning streak with a 94-89 upset of then No. 5 Concordia inside Walz Arena on Nov. 26. The Broncos appear to be the league’s most improved team after finishing 15-16 overall last season.
All five of the Concordia’s losses have come to teams either currently ranked in the top 10 or ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game.
The Bulldogs will play their final non-conference games of the regular season on Friday and Saturday as part of the 63rd annual Concordia Invitational Tournament. Olson’s squad draws Concordia-Wisconsin (15-1) at 6 p.m. on Friday. The 2014 event will be hosted by Concordia University Wisconsin. For a preview of CIT, click HERE.
“They’re a good team,” Olson said of Friday’s opponent. “At 15-1 you know they’re doing a lot right. (Katie) Luethe is a really good player. She would be one of the best if she was in the GPAC. They have a nice team.”
22 January 2014