Olson picks up 100th career GPAC win as ‘Dogs gut it out on the road
YANKTON, S.D. – Three days after pulling off the biggest shocker of the GPAC basketball season, Mount Marty threatened to knock off another top 10 team. However, the ninth-ranked Concordia women’s basketball team rallied back from a 12-point first half deficit for a 60-53 win in Yankton, S.D., on Saturday afternoon.
The season sweep of Mount Marty pushes the Bulldogs to 20-5 overall and 12-3 in GPAC contests. The game also marked the 100th career GPAC win for eighth-year head coach Drew Olson.
“Obviously we’re a different team than the first time we played them,” Olson said. “They’re a lot different as well. Their kids are improving and playing better in their systems. They are a much more competitive team than their record would indicate.”
The Bulldogs reached 20 wins for the third-straight year and for the sixth time in seven seasons despite their cold shooting at Mount Marty. In stark contrast to Concordia’s 109-86 victory over the Lancers in Seward earlier this season, the Bulldogs shot 34.3 percent on Saturday.
Olson’s squad navigated through murky waters by doing a lot of little things well. Point guard Bailey Morris totaled a game high 21 points and dished out five assists without a single turnover. That helped Concordia earn a plus-six turnover advantage while also gaining a 45-35 edge on the boards.
Those numbers were key on a day when it looked like Mount Marty may complete an improbable week of upsets by knocking off No. 2 Northwestern (which it did on Wednesday) and No. 9 Concordia.
“Knowing they just beat Northwestern, our thinking was to get up on them early so that they would begin to doubt themselves,” Olson said. “Instead it was, ‘uh oh, here it comes again. They’re going to do what they did to Northwestern.’ There were moments where it was like, ‘what is going on.’”
Those emotions were calmed when the Bulldogs gained the upper hand in the second half. From the 8:54 mark of the first half to the 17:33 mark of the second half, Concordia outscored Mount Marty 23-8 to grab a three-point lead.
The advantaged rose as high as eight points in the final minutes, but an Allison De Kam wide open layup with 1:06 brought the Lancers within 57-53. Morris decided Mount Marty would not be celebrating a second-straight upset. Concordia’s star point guard got behind the defense for a layup off a long toss on the proceeding out-of-bounds play. She later added a free throw to put the game out of reach.
For Morris, the 21-point output marked her ninth 20-point game of the season. She’s averaging 20.8 points over the past six games.
“We needed that from her,” Olson said of Morris’ no turnovers in 37 minutes on Saturday. “Defensively she did a nice job as well. She had a couple of ticky-tack fouls go against her but it never affected her. She had a complete game.”
Tracy Peitz’s big second half also aided the Concordia comeback. She dropped 11 of her 15 points over the final 20 minutes. She ended up with 15 points and 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Freshman Becky Mueller fell just short of a double-double as she added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Raquel Sutera and Denae Veldkamp paced Mount Marty with 13 points each. The Lancers shot 38.3 percent and committed 19 turnovers.
The Bulldogs continue on the road in GPAC play when they take on Nebraska Wesleyan (1-18, 0-14 GPAC) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Concordia has dominated the rivalry with wins in 13-straight meetings with the Prairie Wolves, including a 94-65 victory in Seward earlier this season.
1 February 2014