Slow-starting Bulldogs upset by visiting Hastings

Slow-starting Bulldogs upset by visiting Hastings

SEWARD, Neb. – A pair of clutch 3-pointers in the waning moments helped visiting Hastings hold off the hard-charging fifth-ranked Bulldog women’s basketball squad inside Walz Arena on Tuesday night. The Broncos (7-2, 2-2 GPAC) ended a seven-game losing streak in the series with Concordia by pulling a 94-89 upset. The loss dropped head coach Drew Olson’s squad to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in GPAC play.

“The hole was too deep. We were down 18 at one point (in the second half),” Olson said. “Our kids are fighters and they’ve got a lot of confidence to battle back.

“Hastings hit some big shots. We cut (the deficit) to two and I felt like, ‘hey, we’ve got them.’ They came up with some big shots.”

Those shots were delivered by Cami Bruckman and Jamie Van Kirk. Their treys on back-to-back possessions in the final three-and-a-half minutes pushed the Bronco lead back up to 85-77 after it had been trimmed to just two. Van Kirk then connected on a baseline jumper less than a minute later that helped stave off the Bulldog rally.

However, head coach Carrie Hofstetter’s Broncos had to hold their breath when Concordia junior Kelsey Hizer hoisted a 3-pointer that could have tied the game in the last five seconds. Laurel Zwiener (25 points and 14 rebounds) secured the Hizer miss and Hastings escaped with the victory.

Zwiener was part of a lethal trio of Broncos on Tuesday night as she combined with Bruckman and Van Kirk for 66 of the team’s 94 points. Zweiner had a huge night inside while Bruckman and Van Kirk bombed away from the outside, collectively making 5-of-7 shots from deep.

“Defensively we were looking to help down and give our posts some support on Zweiner,” Olson said. “Credit to them. A couple of their role players came in and knocked down some threes early to kind of rattle us and get us out of game plan. We knew Van Kirk and Bruckman were really good.”

Trailing 58-40 at the 16:39 mark of the second half, Concordia whittled the lead down to single digits with a Bailey Morris 3-point play with 12:10 to play. Morris would come through with three more points on a trey that got Concordia within two, 77-75, with 5:06 remaining, but the Bulldogs never would grab the lead as Hastings did just enough to stay in front.

Morris finished with 23 points to tie senior Kristen Conahan for the team lead. Conahan entered the night needing 15 points to reach 1,500 for her career. Now at 1,508 points, the Omaha native is the eighth player in program history to eclipse 1,500.

Unfortunately, Conahan and the Bulldogs were doomed by another slow start. Concordia has faced a double-digit deficit in four games already this season. It has rallied to win in two of those instances, but fell short on Tuesday.

“We were not a good basketball team to start the game,” Olson said. “I’m not sure where our focus was at. We’ve been starting slow. We’ve been starting that way where we get down 11 and then it’s like, ‘oh, now let’s play.’ It finally did come back to haunt us tonight.”

Concordia junior guard Kelsey Hizer reached a career high with 16 points. She went 4-for-5 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line.

Hastings outshot Concordia 52.8 percent compared to 46.7 percent.

The Bulldogs are off the remainder of the week for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will return to action on at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4 when they take on Doane (3-6, 0-4 GPAC) in Crete, Neb. Concordia has won four straight against the Tigers, who fell, 64-62, at Midland on Tuesday night.

26 November 2013

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Senior Kristen Conahan eclipsed 1,500 career points on Tuesday night.