Hizer does it all as Bulldogs win in Morris' return

Hizer does it all as Bulldogs win in Morris’ return

SEWARD, Neb. – With junior guard Bailey Morris back in the lineup, the seventh-ranked Concordia women’s basketball team regained the form that saw it win seven GPAC games in a row prior to last Saturday’s setback. The Bulldogs dominated the game’s final minutes on the way to a 79-63 win over Briar Cliff (12-9, 5-6 GPAC) on Saturday afternoon.

Eighth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad moved to 16-4 overall and 10-2 in the GPAC – good enough for second place.

“The second half was just great basketball for us,” Olson said. “Defensively we finally figured them out and locked down the last 10 minutes. That was a great performance for our team.”

Whether blowing past defenders on the way to the basket or rising for a 3-pointer, Morris (game high 21 points in 36 minutes) looked comfortable on the right knee she injured on Jan. 8. She exploded to the rim and showed off her characteristic flair with a sterling bullet pass to Tracy Peitz for two during an 18-0 run that put Concordia in control.

Trailing by a small margin much of the second half, the Morris-led Bulldogs punished Briar Cliff down the stretch. The 18-0 run was ignited by a Morris trey at the 6:17 mark of the second half. That gave Concordia a lead it would keep for good. Morris combined with junior Kelsey Hizer for 15 of the 18 points during the game-winning spurt.

“We just kept hitting shot after shot and I just knew we had it in the bag,” Hizer said. “People definitely stepped up and made some plays.”

Hizer had a big day with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. The 5-foot-10 guard did a number on Briar Cliff leading scorer Slone Masters, who was held without a single point in the second half. Hizer also connected on a 3-pointer in the final minute to put an exclamation mark on the win.

“Kelsey was fantastic,” Olson said. “She hit a couple shots that helps her confidence, but it’s her defense that really helps us. Slone Masters is a really nice player and (Kelsey) was all over her.”

Concordia, which held the Chargers to 32.8 percent shooting (21.6 percent in the second half), also got solid performances from Peitz (11 points, 13 rebounds) and freshman Becky Mueller (13 points, seven rebounds). Peitz, a Hartington, Neb., native, notched her second double-double in three games. Morris added five assists and four steals to her ledger.

The Bulldogs tremendous defensive effort caused 21 Briar Cliff turnovers. In addition, Olson lauded his team for taking a season high four charges.

Oddly, Concordia shot 41.7 percent (10-for-24) from beyond the arc, but only 31.3 percent (15-for-48) on attempts inside the 3-point line.

Paige Herrboldt topped the Chargers with 15 points. Regan Cooper chipped in seven points and 10 rebounds for a Briar Cliff team that lost in GPAC play for the fifth time in the last six outings.

While Morris returned to the hardwood, the Bulldogs played their second game in a row without senior leader Kristen Conahan.

Next up for the Bulldogs is a trip to No. 10 Hastings (18-2, 9-2 GPAC) on Wednesday in what will be a battle of top 10 teams. The Broncos won the first meeting, 94-89, upsetting Concordia in Seward on Nov. 26. That contest ended a streak of seven-straight wins over the Broncos, who defeated No. 9 Morningside 64-55 on Saturday.

“We’re pretty excited to play Hastings and CIT (Jan. 24-25) is obviously always really fun so we can’t wait to get back at it,” Hizer said.

18 January 2014

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Junior Kelsey Hizer