No. 7 Concordia pulls away from Dordt for sixth-straight GPAC win
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Concordia exercised its demons on Saturday afternoon by walking out of De Witt Gymnasium in Sioux Center, Iowa, with an 81-63 victory. The win gave the Bulldogs a measure of revenge against a Dordt program that handed Concordia its first loss last season when it sat atop the national poll.
Eighth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad won for the sixth-straight time in conference play and improved to 14-3 overall and 8-1 in the GPAC. Concordia had won only once in its previous five trips to Sioux Center.
“We knew it was going to be a tough place to play and it was,” Olson said. “In the second half Dordt made a really good push in cutting our lead to seven. Our team battled and was able to get the stops we needed.”
Trailing 18-16 at the 9:35 mark, Concordia went on an 18-2 run to take control as well as a 44-29 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs never trailed after taking a 20-18 lead with 8:19 left in the half.
Junior guard Bailey Morris’ individual effort summed up the team’s performance. After being held scoreless for more than 15 minutes to begin the game, the sparkplug Morris exploded for 10 of her game high 23 points in the final 4:22 of the first half. She then added 10 points in the last five minutes of regulation.
As the Roseland, Neb., native turned up her level of play, so did the Bulldogs.
“I think you would find that being the case in a lot of our games,” Olson said. “When Bailey goes on runs it usually snowballs for our opponents. When she gets on a roll she can be impossible to stop.”
Still, Dordt did not go away and trailed just 62-55 with under four minutes to play. Concordia took timeout and quickly ballooned the lead back to double digits on the strength of an 11-0 spurt. Freshman Becky Mueller had two big buckets during the Defenders’ late push before Concordia regained its grip.
With junior Jericca Pearson sidelined for the second-straight game due to a knee injury and Lori Laboda going down midway through the second half, the Bulldogs needed contributions from their role players. Mueller, Lori Laboda and Karissa Segelke helped combat the injuries as well as the foul trouble endured by several key players, including Tracy Peitz.
Before leaving with an injury, Laboda piled up a season high 10 rebounds. Even without Pearson inside, the Bulldogs outmuscled Dordt on the boards to the tune of a 51-27 advantage. Concordia collected 17 offensive boards.
“That was a shock,” Olson said of the huge rebounding advantage. “We lost in turnover margin for probably the first time all season but the rebounding numbers showed how hard we played. We got them to miss and held them to one shot.”
In support of Morris, Kristen Conahan and Peitz added 14 points apiece. Peitz also tallied six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Kelsey Hizer chipped in seven points and Mueller finished with seven points and seven rebounds.
In place of Pearson, freshman guard Shelby Quinn made her first career start on Saturday.
Star guard Kayla Broekhuis led the charge for the Defenders. She poured in 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting.
The Bulldogs remain on the road to begin next week as they travel to face No. 10 Midland (9-8, 5-2 GPAC) on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. Concordia has won nine-consecutive meetings against the Warriors. Midland has not played since a 73-58 loss to No. 23 St. Ambrose (Iowa) on New Year’s Eve.
4 January 2014