SEWARD, Neb. – It’s about time to get back to basketball. After a break for Christmas (11 days without a game), the Concordia University Women’s Basketball team will return to action on Wednesday when it will host Mount Marty. The contest was originally slated to be played on Dec. 9. Conference play will continue on Saturday with the Bulldogs headed to Orange City, Iowa, for a clash with Northwestern. Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad won at Jamestown on Dec. 18 in its most recent outing.
Concordia (8-5, 7-3) at Northwestern (5-6, 5-3)
Saturday, Jan. 2 | 2 p.m.
Bultman Center | Orange City, Iowa
Webcast: Red Raiders All-Access
Live Stats: Sidearm Sports
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentator: Evan Jones
*2020-21 NAIA national rank in parentheses
-NOTE: 171 of 235 NAIA women’s basketball programs have played at least one game this season.
Scoring Offense: 76.5 (40th)
Scoring Defense: 67.5 (87th)
FG% Offense: .374 (T-121st)
FG% Defense: .385 (T-77th)
3-pt FG% Offense: .299 (80th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .310 (T-97th)
Rebound Margin: -1.85 (109th)
Turnover Margin: +7.23 (21st)
Scoring Offense: 60.7 (137th)
Scoring Defense: 71.9 (121st)
FG% Offense: .363 (136th)
FG% Defense: .414 (128th)
3-pt FG% Offense: .273 (T-121st)
3-pt FG% Defense: .371 (159th)
Rebound Margin: -8.36 (152nd)
Turnover Margin: +0.36 (93rd)
Scoring Offense: 72.8 (64th)
Scoring Defense: 70.0 (T-104th)
FG% Offense: .402 (T-70th)
FG% Defense: .404 (T-110th)
3-pt FG% Offense: .350 (28th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .350 (T-150th)
Rebound Margin: +2.55 (68th)
Turnover Margin: +1.18 (76th)
Protocols for fans
Concordia home games: Consistent with state directed health measures, Concordia will allow up to 50 percent capacity for Wednesday’s home game. Tickets will be sold at the door for this week’s contest.
At Northwestern: Northwestern is currently allowing up to 50 percent capacity at the Bultman Center. For more on fan attendance policies at Northwestern, please visit: https://nwcraiders.com/news/2020/9/3/general-nw-gpac-release-covid-fan-protocols.aspx.
--NOTE: All GPAC events require fans to wear face coverings. To review specific COVID-19 protocols for the GPAC and its member institutions, visit: http://www.gpacsports.com/gpac-covid19-fan-protocols.
The Bulldogs have enjoyed this past week off on the heels of back-to-back GPAC wins: 67-59 at Midland on Dec. 15 and 55-50 at Jamestown on Dec. 18. Those results represented a positive response to losses that occurred on Dec. 5 (at Briar Cliff) and on Dec. 12 (at then 24th-ranked Morningside). Concordia still has yet to play at home during the month of December. Its most recent home game took place on Nov. 21 with the result being a 73-62 win over then eighth-ranked Dordt. In the two most recent wins, junior Taylor Cockerill (17 at Midland) and freshman Taysha Rushton (12 at Jamestown) paced the team from a scoring perspective.
Winning with defense
It’s not out of the ordinary for Olson’s teams to win with defense, but things have looked a bit unusual of late. The Bulldogs grinded out victories over Midland and Jamestown while employing a lot of half-court, man-to-man looks. It wasn’t always pretty, but it got the job done. Concordia limited both Midland (.357) and Jamestown (.293) to field goal shooting below 36 percent. The Jimmies went just 1-for-22 from 3-point range. In addition, the Bulldogs forced a healthy combined turnover total of 41 in those victories (while committing 28 total turnovers). Concordia ranks 21st nationally in turnover margin. When needed, Olson can still put on the program’s patented press.
A run of 97-straight NAIA coaches’ poll appearances came to an end earlier this month when the Bulldogs dropped out of the top 25. Concordia had been included in every possible NAIA poll since the start of the 2011-12 season. During that stretch, the Bulldogs earned the No. 1 ranking 16 times, a top five ranking 63 times and a top 10 ranking 88 times. Six senior classes in a row played their entire careers for ranked Concordia women’s basketball teams. With the move to one division, there is now more competition for position within the top 25.
Olson would probably like to believe his team is due for an offensive breakout. The Bulldogs have been held to 67 points or fewer in four-consecutive outings (all within the GPAC). At times, Concordia has flashed offensive firepower, as it did in wins by scores of 111-52 at Doane and 99-47 at College of Saint Mary. The numbers would seem to suggest better offensive days are ahead. Both Taysha Rushton (.342) and Taylor Cockerill (.333) are shooting below 35 percent from the floor in GPAC games. The Bulldogs are a better team when Cockerill is putting the ball in the basket. She enters the week with 1,111 career points to her credit.
Concordia is ranked fourth in the official GPAC rankings, behind Morningside, Midland and Briar Cliff. Several teams in the GPAC are nearing the halfway point of a conference regular-season slate complete with 22 games. At 7-3 in the GPAC, the Bulldogs are tied for second place with Briar Cliff. Morningside sits atop the league standings with a 7-1 GPAC mark. Seven GPAC teams have either three or four league losses entering the week.
Following the 86-67 loss at Morningside on Dec. 12, Olson made some tweaks to his starting lineup. He may have settled on a new one for now. In the victory at Jamestown, the starting five consisted of Taylor Cockerill, Mackenzie Koepke, Averie Lambrecht, Rylee Pauli and Taysha Rushton. Four Bulldogs average 20 or more minutes per game: Cockerill (29.5), Rushton (27.0), Pauli (22.5) and Koepke (21.1). Cockerill and Rushton are the lone two Bulldogs to have started all 13 games.
Scouting Mount Marty
Mount Marty will also be ending a holiday break when Wednesday’s game tips off. The Lancers last played on Dec. 21 when they were beaten at home, 65-44, by Jamestown. Head Coach Todd James Schlimgen’s squad captured its only GPAC victory to this point on Dec. 2 with a 62-53 win over College of Saint Mary. Senior Karlee McKinney paces the squad with an average of 14.5 points per game. Mount Marty is averaging 60.7 points while allowing 71.9 points. Schlimgen’s staff includes former Concordia Golf graduate assistant Logan Wagner (a former standout player for the Lancers).
The Red Raiders are 5-0 in the month of December with a big road test coming up on New Year’s Eve when they will be at GPAC leading Morningside. Concordia will aim for a regular season sweep of Northwestern. The two sides met in Seward on Nov. 14 with the result being an 83-72 Bulldog victory. Head Coach Chris Yaw’s squad began its winning streak on Dec. 2 with an impressive win at Briar Cliff. Senior sharpshooter Sammy Blum has been the team’s top scorer with an average of 13.3 points per game. As a team, the Red Raiders are shooting 35.0 percent from 3-point range.
A lot of home games are coming, but Concordia will also be on the road on Wednesday, Jan. 6 for a battle at Dakota Wesleyan. The Bulldogs will then welcome Jamestown to Friedrich Arena for a matchup on Saturday, Jan. 9.
Concordia (8-5, 7-3)
G – Taylor Cockerill, Jr. (14.8)
G – Averie Lambrecht, So. (1.8)
G – Taysha Rushton, Fr. (13.4)
F – Mackenzie Koepke, Jr. (7.3)
F – Rylee Pauli, Jr. (7.8)
Mount Marty (3-8, 1-7)
G – Bailey Kortan, So. (3.6)
G – Karlee McKinney, Sr. (14.5)
G – Callie Otkin, Jr. (7.7)
F – Peyton Stolle, Sr. (4.3)
F – Aubrey Twedt, So. (4.6)
Northwestern (5-6, 5-5)
G – Sammy Blum, Sr. (13.3)
G – Devyn Kemble, Jr. (8.8)
F – Molly Schany, Fr. (11.6)
F – Alexis Toering, Jr. (4.9)
F – Taylor Vandervelde, Jr. (6.5)