OMAHA, Neb. – With the help of a 12-2 run late in the first half on Saturday (Feb. 12), the Concordia University Women’s Basketball team successfully completed a 2-0 week on the road within the GPAC. Led by 22 points from Taysha Rushton, the Bulldogs handled host College of Saint Mary comfortably, 98-73, inside the Lied Fitness Center. Concordia scorched the nets by draining 14-of-26 3-point attempts.
The shooting clinic put on by the Bulldogs made for a much less harrowing 40 minutes as compared to three days earlier in the comeback win at Doane. With one week left in the regular season, Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad (15-11, 12-8 GPAC) is working on padding the resume for a hopeful national tournament bid.
“Taysha’s doing an awesome job and I think we’re starting to find ourselves and find a rhythm with each other,” Olson said. “It’s good to see that at this point in the season. The end of the second quarter and first half of the third quarter we made some nice runs, caused them to turn the ball over and got some layups and wide-open threes. We shared the ball well and made the extra pass. It looked like really good Bulldog Basketball.”
Not only were the perimeter shots falling, Concordia also flustered the Flames into 23 turnovers – after forcing 28 turnovers in the win at Doane. The Bulldogs are pressing more with certain personnel groups on the floor. The speeding up of opponents has brought energy to Concordia, which shot 58.5 percent (38-for-65) on Saturday. Rushton got going early and went 6-for-10 from deep as her efficiency continues to increase.
The star from Midland, Texas, got plenty of help from her teammates. Kendal Brigham polished off a monster week with 18 points (6-for-7 from the field) in 14 minutes at CSM. She also collected five assists and two steals and drained 4-of-5 attempts from 3-point range. She was one of nine Bulldogs with at least one steal on the afternoon. Bailey Conrad (six assists) and Rushton swiped three steals apiece. In the scoring column, Rylee Pauli (13) and Taylor Farrell (12) also reached double figures and Sadie Powell chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds. Pauli moved past 500 rebounds for her career.
The Concordia lead grew as large as 31 points in the middle of the fourth quarter (thanks to an 11-0 run that began in the third quarter). The commanding lead allowed everyone a chance to contribute. Late in the contest, Hanna Spearman and Taryn Tracy got into the act with a bucket apiece. Rushton played 26 minutes before passing the baton.
The loss eliminated College of Saint Mary (12-14, 6-14 GPAC) from GPAC tournament contention. The Flames were paced on Saturday by the 17 points from Bailey White and 13 points from Honnah Leo. Top scorer Alyssa Marsh-Contreras notched six points in 14 minutes. Though CSM will not be headed to the postseason, it improved significantly from last season’s 3-21 overall mark. The Bulldogs have now won each of the past 20 meetings with the Flames.
Concordia will host its final home game of the regular season on Wednesday when Briar Cliff (17-10, 13-7 GPAC) will be in town for a 6 p.m. CT tipoff inside Friedrich Arena. Concordia will recognize its senior class with a ceremony at halftime of the men’s game that evening. In this season’s first meeting, the Chargers held off the Bulldogs, 74-68, in Sioux City, Iowa, on Nov. 13.