A three point play by Shelby Beaudette with 16 seconds remaining in the contest lifted Morningside College to a 69-66 women’s basketball win over Concordia on Saturday afternoon in Seward. The visiting Mustangs improved to 7-3 overall (2-1 GPAC) with the victory. Concordia’s winning streak was snapped at eight games, as the Bulldogs dropped to 8-1 overall (3-1 GPAC). Saturday’s contest featured a pair of the NAIA’s top 15 teams. Concordia entered the contest ranked ninth, while Morningside was voted 13th in the latest top 25 poll.
The first half went back and forth. The half featured two ties and six lead changes. The Mustangs held a slim 35-34 lead with just under three minutes remaining in the half. A quick 6-0 run gave Morningside a 41-34 lead. Concordia’s Britney Birtell (Madison, Neb.) scored in the lane late in the final minute to pull the Bulldogs within five (41-36) at halftime. The Bulldogs managed to stay close despite poor shooting in the opening 20 minutes. Concordia was just 11-of-37 from the field overall (29.7 percent) and 3-of-15 from long range (20 percent). Morningside was 13-of-29 from the field in the opening half for 44.8 percent. The Mustangs connected on five 3-pointers in the opening half of play and were led by Hanna Blum’s 10 first half points. Amber Kistler (Minatare, Neb.) hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored 12 points to pace Concordia in the first half.
In the second half, Morningside built their lead to 11 on two separate occasions. A layup by Leann Osten gave the Mustangs a 63-52 lead with nine minutes remaining in the contest. Concordia didn’t go away, however, and chipped away at the deficit. Trailing by eight (66-58) with four minutes to play, Concordia used an 8-0 run to tie the score with one minute to play. A 3-pointer by Kristen Conahan (Omaha, Neb.) pulled the Bulldogs within one at 66-65, and a free throw by Bailey Morris (Roseland, Neb.) tied the score to set up an exciting finish.
Following a Morningside turnover, Concordia had two opportunities to take the lead. The Bulldogs missed a pair of layups, however, and Morningside got the ball back with 40 seconds to play. Late in the shot clock, Beaudette hit a tough jumper in the paint and was fouled on the play. The made free throw gave Morningside the 69-66 advantage.
The Bulldogs tried for a quick field goal, but Conahan missed a layup with seven seconds left, forcing Concordia to foul. Blum missed the front end of a one-and-one, which gave Concordia one final attempt. A desperation heave from midcourt by Kistler didn’t connect, and the Mustangs held on for the victory. Both teams struggled from the field in the second half. Morningside was 11-of-29 for 37.9 percent, while Concordia was just 9-of-34 for 26.5 percent.
Morningside finished 24-of-58 from the field for 41.4 percent. The Mustangs were 9-of-29 from deep (31 percent) and 12-of-17 at the foul line (70.6 percent). The Mustangs finished with 15 assists on their 24 made field goals and scored 20 fast break points. Blum scored a game-high 20 points and added eight boards for Morningside in the win. She was 7-of-11 from the field. Beaudette was 7-of-12 from the field overall and 3-of-6 from deep to finish with 18 points on the day.
Concordia was just 20-of-71 from the field for 28.2 percent. It was a struggle from deep all afternoon, as the Bulldogs managed just 5-of-29 from beyond the arc for 17.2 percent. The Bulldogs were a respectable 21-of-27 at the foul line for 77.8 percent. As has been the case all year, the Concordia defense was solid, forcing 28 Mustang turnovers. The Bulldogs scored 23 points off of those turnovers. Kistler scored a team-best 14, and Conahan added 13 for the Bulldogs. It was a struggle from the field, however, as the duo combined to hit just 9-of-34 shots in the loss. Morris and Katie Rich (Tilden, Neb.) added 10 points apiece, and Rich added a game-high 15 rebounds for a double-double.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Bulldogs. Concordia hosts #2 Briar Cliff University on December 7 at the Walz Human Performance Complex.