Morris wills comeback from 17 down in instant classic road win

Morris wills comeback from 17 down in instant classic road win

MITCHELL, S.D. – The ninth-ranked Concordia women’s basketball team missed its first 12 shots of the night as part of a frustrating start at Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday evening. But then Bailey Morris happened. The sparkplug guard dominated with a career high 34 points and Concordia went 32-for-36 from the free throw line to steal an 86-84 win over the host Tigers (15-11, 8-9 GPAC).

The game came down to the last shot when Bulldog freshman Becky Mueller banked in a buzzer beater from the block on an out of bounds play (assisted by Kelsey Hizer) to send the Concordia bench into a frenzy. Mueller’s clutch shot completed an improbable comeback after falling behind by 17 points in the first half.

The Bulldogs found a way to get to 22-5 overall and 14-3 in GPAC action.

“When you look at the stat line you’ll think Bailey and Tracy (Peitz) had great games, and they did, but it was really a collective win,” Olson said. “What an incredible game.”

The Tigers jumped out to a 13-2 lead, holding Concordia without a field goal until Bailey Morris’ layup at the 12:10 mark of the half. Dakota Wesleyan pumped the lead up to 17 late in the first half before settling for a 43-30 lead at the break.

The Tigers still led by 10 with 6:04 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs gradually worked into the lead for the first time all night with an 18-7 run that made it 84-83 with 1:27 left. The Tigers then tied it with a free throw with just 23 seconds remaining to set the stage for the heroics of Mueller, who scored Concordia’s final six points.

“Lots of screaming and yelling,” Olson said about the reaction to Mueller’s game-winning shot.

The Bulldogs would not have been in position for the win if not for the monster night from Morris (15-for-15 from the free throw line). After 13 points in the first half, the junior star piled up 21 more in a critical second half performance. She put up all of those points during a stretch of less than 12 minutes in serving as a personal wrecking crew, spoiling the Tiger senior night.

“Bailey had one of the best games I’ve seen,” Olson said. “Thinking back, that will go down as one of the better games for an individual.

“Bailey and Tracy completely dominated.”

While overshadowed somewhat by Morris, Peitz racked up 21 points, aided by 11-for-12 foul shooting. She added six rebounds and three steals. Mueller joined Morris and Peitz in double figures with 13 of her own.

Two-time All-American Kristen Conahan registered in the scoring column for the first time since Jan. 8 when she nailed a jumper midway through the first half and finished with four points in 16 minutes.

Despite missing its first 12 shots, Concordia managed to shoot 39.7 percent for the game. The Tigers shot 48.1 percent but turned it over 21 times. They were led by Celeste Beck’s 22 points.

Saturday’s win marks the Bulldogs’ biggest comeback victory of the season. They rallied from a 15-point deficit to win at Grand View on Nov. 2.

“It was a matter of regrouping and figuring out what we were doing wrong in our press,” Olson said after Saturday’s win. “We had to attack offensively and not try to get it all back at once. Our team showed great composure. We kept chipping away and put ourselves in position to win.”

The Bulldogs are back at Walz Arena next week for their final two regular-season home games of the season. Up next is Midland (13-13, 9-7 GPAC) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Concordia won the season’s first meeting by a score of 82-74 on Jan. 8 despite Conahan and Morris both leaving the game early.

8 February 2014

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Bailey Morris: career high 34 points