Balance, pressure D overwhelm Defenders

By Jacob Knabel on Dec. 2, 2017 in Women's Basketball

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Senior Mary Janovich began the afternoon with an 8-0 run all by herself, setting the stage for yet another blowout victory for the second-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team. The Bulldogs put up more than 30 points in the opening quarter for the second outing in a row and rolled to a 101-55 win at Dordt in Sioux Center, Iowa, on Saturday (Dec. 2).

Twelfth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has won seven times this season by margins of greater than 20 points. Concordia remains unbeaten at 9-0 overall and 5-0 in conference play.

“Our press is pretty hard and pretty brutal on some teams,” said senior Sydney Feller in a postgame interview with 104.9 Max Country radio. “They couldn’t handle the ball as well as they needed to. Mary and Dani (Hoppes) had the pressure all over them and the second group came in and we continued the pressure.”

Immediately after the opening tip, Concordia turned Saturday’s contest into a track meet. The host Defenders (6-7, 2-3 GPAC) did not have the athletes to keep up. The Bulldog pressure devastated Dordt, which turned it over 30 times, fueling an offensive onslaught on the other end. Janovich kick started the day with a pair of threes from the right corner and then an uncontested layup in transition.

Uncontested shots came by the bushel basket. Feller went 3-for-4 from 3-point range on her way to 13 points as one of the ringleaders for a balanced attack. Feller and four teammates reached double figures in scoring: Taylor Cockerill (14), Brenleigh Daum (11), MacKenzie Helman (11) and Janovich (10). Their cumulative efforts resulted in a slicing and dicing of a Dordt team that yielded 50.7 percent shooting (37-for-73). Helman enjoyed a fine day at the point, adding six rebounds and five assists.

This one got out of hand quickly. By the 3:22 mark of the second quarter, the Bulldogs had already built a 40-point advantage (56-16) on the strength of another Feller triple. Concordia splashed in 16-of-33 (.485) attempts from beyond the arc. Seven different Bulldogs knocked in at least one 3-point field goal while Concordia outnumbered the Defenders in bench scoring, 58-13.

Dordt, which owns GPAC wins over College of Saint Mary and Mount Marty, was paced by the 18 points and seven rebounds from Rachel Evavold. She went 9-for-14 from the floor, however, her teammates were a combined 10-for-40 (.250) on field goal attempts. The Defenders played without sharpshooting guard Annie Rhinesmith, who sat out with an injury.

“We try to work on taking away what they want to do and try to force them to do something they’re not used to or don’t want to do,” Feller said. “We’re continuously getting better and better at our press as the season goes on.”

All 13 Concordia players to see action found the bottom of the net at least once on Saturday. Freshman Rebecca Higgins continues to use her minutes efficiently, totaling five points, on 2-for-2 shooting, and three rebounds. Sophomore Colby Duvel was perfect from the floor (2-for-2) and free throw line (2-for-2) while chipping in six points, five rebounds and four steals.

The Bulldogs will attempt to extend their active 26-game home winning streak on Wednesday (Dec. 6) when 19th-ranked Hastings (8-1, 3-1 GPAC) makes a visit to Walz Arena. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT. Concordia has won each of the last three meetings with the rival Broncos.