3-pointers lead to win over Morningside; Advance to semis

By Chase Benton on Feb. 28, 2024 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – The 2nd-seeded Bulldogs earned a spot to hold a GPAC tournament quarterfinal in Friedrich Arena on Wednesday night (Feb. 28). Concordia came out aggressive against the 7th-seeded Morningside and dropped 14 from beyond the arc in the 86-65 thrashing of the Mustangs. Taysha Rushton paced the team with 27 points (9-of-12 FG) and five 3-pointers, as CUNE shot its second highest 3-point percentage (51.9) this year.

The Bulldogs added to their win total at 24-5, with the chance for two more in the conference tournament. Head Coach Drew Olson commented

“Offensively, we were really good. I felt like overall it was a complete game for us. Offensively, we shot well. We did a really good job of attacking their zone and getting the ball to the high post a lot. Kristin (Vieselmeyer), Abby (Heemstra) and Rae (Kelty) did an awesome job of being physical inside. Defensively, we did a really good job of sticking to the game plan. I loved the toughness and heart that we play with.”

Up 15 coming out of the locker rooms, Concordia put the game to bed in the third quarter with a 20-6 flurry and knocked the competition down 27 behind the Dawgs. Six different players added to the run with Rushton and Megan Belt having six points apiece. The conference 3-point percentage leader had nine total.

Rushton had a three basket 7-point run of her own and a double digit (10) second quarter and was 5-of-6 from downtown in the 40 minutes.

Olson said, “She is the best player in the league when she is on. She is so good. Tonight, I was most proud of her defense. We put her on Spier and she just did a good job of making her miserable.”

Kristin Vieselmeyer attacked the basket from the opening whistle and seized 10 points with ease on 66.7 percent (4-for-6) shooting. Shooting a perfect 10-10 from the charity stripe, Concordia had two others in double figures including Powell (14) and Kendal Brigham (12).

The Bulldogs shot 51.7 percent from the field to their opponents’ 34.3 percent. Mackenzie Toomey left the game early with an injury, leaving the Bulldogs without their usual do-it-all player.

Morningside concludes its season at 15-13 and seventh place in the conference. The Mustangs were led by Lily Vollertsen (18) and Ella Wragge (11) in double digits. They shot 25 percent from three and 70 percent (12-for-17) from the line.

Concordia will take on the third seeded Briar Cliff in the semifinals at Friedrich Arena on Saturday (Mar. 2). Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. CT. The two teams split in the regular season, each winning their home matchup.