SEWARD, Neb. – During a slow first few minutes offensively, it felt like it was just a matter of time before the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team took control. The Bulldogs made it a runaway in the second quarter while flustering another opponent with the press. Concordia won in a route, 95-51, over visiting College of Saint Mary on Wednesday night (Feb. 13).
Thirteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad suffered only one home blemish during a 2018-19 regular season that is nearly in the books. The Bulldogs have moved to 26-3 overall and to 18-3 in the GPAC (tied with Northwestern for first place).
“There were some things we were trying to work on (tonight),” Olson said. “I’m not sure we accomplished all of our goals. I thought there were some nice spurts we had defensively going on some runs, but overall we can get a little bit better.”
The beginning of the second quarter is exactly what Concordia wanted this game to look like. As part of a 17-2 run in that carried over from the first period, one particular sequence featured four-straight Flames turnovers that immediately led to Bulldog baskets, three of which were dropped in by ‘Amazing’ Grace Barry. Concordia led 36-15 by the time the splurge ended with a Taylor Cockerill trey.
College of Saint Mary (2-26, 1-20 GPAC) is not built to keep up in a game like this, especially with some of the injury issues it has dealt with this season. The Flames came in averaging 59.7 points per game and have now lost 17 in a row since winning at Doane, 68-67, on Nov. 28. On this particular night, College of Saint Mary had little chance of overcoming its 37 turnovers.
Cockerill regained her 3-point shooting stroke in a big way. She went 5-for-7 from beyond the arc while leading the Bulldogs with 15 points. She also swiped a team high four steals on an evening when Concordia stole the ball 26 times as a team. Barry and Mackenzie Koepke added 10 points apiece. Elsie Aslesen chipped in nine points and Claire Cornell and Philly Lammers both notched eight points.
Olson took advantage of much of the second half to spread playing time around. All fifteen Bulldogs who suited up saw action and registered in the scoring column. Rylee Pauli hauled in eight rebounds in a solid effort off the bench. Concordia was dominant during the third quarter (27-6 scoring advantage) and limited the Flames to just 22.9 percent shooting in the second half (32.8 percent for the game).
College of Saint Mary will end its season Saturday at Briar Cliff. The Flames were paced on Wednesday by the 17 points from Dani Carlson. Ashley Nelson came up with four steals.
The Bulldogs will close out the regular season on Saturday with a trip to Mount Marty (15-13, 8-13 GPAC) for a 1:30 p.m. CST tipoff (originally scheduled for 2 p.m.). The Lancers have won three of their last four outings within conference play. In this season’s first meeting, Concordia toppled Mount Marty, 99-68, on Dec. 8.
A Bulldog win would lock up at least a share of the GPAC regular-season title for the third year in a row. It would also guarantee the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. As it stands now, Concordia could not fall any lower than the second seed.
“It’s a big game for us,” Olson said. “I think it would be pretty special to be able to win it three years in a row. I think our kids are pretty driven for that.”