Bulldogs celebrate senior night with third-straight win

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 17, 2022 in Women's Basketball

By Sam Firminhac, Athletic Communications

SEWARD, Neb. –  The Concordia University Women’s Basketball team seems to be getting hot at the right time, winning its third-straight game on Wednesday (Feb. 16) night while up against Briar Cliff. In their final regular-season appearance of 2021-22 inside Fredrich Arena, the Bulldogs executed defensively both in the half and full-court as part of a 62-43 win. They came out strong, leading 24-6 at the end of the first quarter, and never looked back. Concordia was not only playing for its seniors but also for GPAC tournament seeding and a potential at-large berth to the national tournament.

With the win, Head Coach Drew Olson's squad improved to 16-11 (13-8 GPAC). Concordia is now tied for fifth in the GPAC standings with a chance to place as high as fourth.

Said senior Rylee Pauli, “We came out focused with a lot of energy. We knew what we needed to do to get it done. It was awesome, especially in the first half shutting them down. “

Pauli collected 10 rebounds and also added five points in what might have been her final home game. Taysha Rushton did her usual, scoring 21 points including five three-pointers. Rushton has totaled 18 points or more in seven consecutive games. Taylor Farrell added 11 points and Bailey Conrad added four tallies and grabbed five rebounds. Sadie Powell had a big night, coming one point shy of a double-double. She had nine points, 12 rebounds and two steals.

The Bulldog seniors were honored at halftime of the men’s game. The five seniors have created a special bond. "It's been a very special bond," Pauli said. "Us five have toughed our way through all the injuries and everything. It's awesome – I've been able to do it with my best friends too. It's been a fun four years."

The Concordia defense had a stellar performance in holding the Chargers to just 43 points compared to the 74 points they allowed when the two teams met earlier in the season. Briar Cliff’s Madelyn Deitchler, who had 20 points when the two teams last met, was held to zero points. The Bulldogs also shot over 30 percent from behind the arc compared to the Chargers’ 16 percent.

Briar Cliff now also finds itself sitting at 13-8 in the GPAC as the regular season nears its end. Madisyn Rogan led the Chargers in scoring with 14 points. Kennedy Benne was the only other Charger in double figures with 11 points. She also grabbed five rebounds. Mya Hendry notched 11 rebounds. Briar Cliff made a grand total of 13 baskets for the entire night.

The Concordia senior class, in addition to Pauli, includes Abby Aplaca, Mackenzie Koepke, Courtney Merryweather and Chloe Schumacher. A Lincoln native, Schumacher got the start on Wednesday and scored the game’s first basket.

The Bulldogs will travel to Mitchell, S.D., on Saturday (Feb. 19) for their final regular-season game of the year, taking on Dakota Wesleyan at the Corn Palace. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. CT. The Tigers are currently sitting fourth in the GPAC with a conference record of 14-7. The two teams met just over a month ago in Seward, where the Concordia won, 90-58. With a win, Concordia would earn the GPAC’s No. 4 seed and the right to host a GPAC tournament quarterfinal game.