Brigham-led Bulldogs sink school-record 20 treys in stomping of Doane

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 10, 2024 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – It was Doane that had the misfortune of catching the Concordia University Women’s Basketball team on a night when it combined its usual relentless defensive effort with precise execution on offense. Whether facing man or zone, the 11th-ranked Bulldogs carved up their nearby rival on their way to a 101-60 rout inside Friedrich Arena on Wednesday (Jan. 10). Concordia shot a scintillating 20-for-43 from 3-point range while often turning its suffocating defense into transition opportunities.

Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad has pushed its win streak to five as it continues a stretch of playing five out of six at home. The Bulldogs stand at 12-2 overall (8-2 GPAC) thanks to their 15th-straight series win over Doane.

“Our team just did a really good job of understanding the game plan and executing it really well,” Olson said. “At the same time, it’s their effort, their energy level and focus they bring – and when you shoot the ball like that – you’re a pretty good basketball team. You’re going to be a hard team to beat if you make 20 threes.”

This was a mismatch from the start as Concordia opened with a 16-0 flurry that included four 3-point field goals, including two from the dynamic Taysha Rushton. The triples kept coming at a dizzying, school record single-game rate (previous standard, on record, was 19). There was no one hotter than Wahoo, Neb., native Kendal Brigham, who surpassed a career high with 24 points. The roadrunner-like Brigham drained 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arc, went 9-for-11 overall and dropped five dimes.

Recent results would not have necessarily forecasted such a lopsided affair. Concordia was coming off a grinder of a 69-61 win over Dakota Wesleyan in which it went 0-for-8 from 3-point range in the opening half. Meanwhile, Doane (10-5, 5-4 GPAC) had just upset No. 8 Briar Cliff in a free throw fest. On Wednesday, it was clear early on that the Tigers weren’t about to knock off another top 25 foe.

This was vintage Bulldog Basketball. Explained Brigham of the team’s aggressive pressure, “I am so excited for that. It’s so fun – nothing gets us more hyped than getting a 10-second call or a steal. That just generates into good offense and our energy thrives off of that.”

While Brigham filled the stat sheet in a career night, four other Concordia players reached double figures: Abby Krieser (14), Rushton (12), Megan Belt (12) and Sadie Powell (12). Leu also added nine points as one of 12 Bulldogs to register in the scoring column. In addition, Powell dropped seven dimes and Mackenzie Toomey snared a team high seven rebounds. Concordia wound up shooting 53.4 percent (39-for-73) overall. As a sign of how well it shared the ball, 39 of its 33 baskets were assisted. The school standard-setting 20th trey of the night came from Reece Snodgrass.

Rushton was helped off the court in the second quarter and was then held out of the remainder of the game as a precaution. Even Rushton’s absence failed to change the game’s dynamics. The home team dominated in every statistical category while finishing plus-12 in turnover margin (24-12) and with advantages of 38-29 in rebounding and 28-6 in points off turnovers. The active hands of the Bulldogs led to eight blocks. Tiger star Mak Hatcliff was limited to a season low 15 points while dealing with the likes of Powell and Toomey.

Said Olson of the defensive performance, “I thought we executed really well. They’re a really good offensive team, something like 16th in the country in points per game. We did a really good job, especially of knowing where Hatcliff was at and being able to rotate out if it after helping.”

A major challenge awaits on Saturday when No. 1 Dordt (14-1, 9-0 GPAC) will pay a visit to Friedrich Arena (2 p.m. CT tipoff). The Defenders have lost only once all season and that defeat came on the road against an NCAA Division I opponent, South Dakota State University. Dordt has won four-straight series meetings with Concordia and is an impressive 44-5 overall since the start of the 2022-23 campaign.