SEWARD, Neb. – Only one game will make up this week’s schedule for the Concordia University Women’s Basketball team. In a typical year, the Concordia Invitational Tournament would be on tap for this weekend, but CIT was called off for a number of reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of preparing for another CIT, the Bulldogs are readying to host College of Saint Mary on Thursday. Concordia improved to 5-4 at home with last week’s win over Briar Cliff.
Concordia (13-7, 12-5) vs. College of Saint Mary (2-14, 1-12)
Thursday, Jan. 28 | 7 p.m.
Friedrich Arena | Seward, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Concordia Sports Network
Radio: No radio for this game
Commentator: Frank Greene
*2020-21 NAIA national rank in parentheses
-NOTE: 190 of 235 NAIA women’s basketball programs have played at least one game this season.
Scoring Offense: 77.2 (34th)
Scoring Defense: 67.1 (93rd)
FG% Offense: .387 (T-109th)
FG% Defense: .383 (T-72nd)
3-pt FG% Offense: .320 (T-64th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .314 (T-114th)
Free Throw%: .735 (T-37th)
Rebound Margin: -0.55 (112th)
Turnover Margin: +5.80 (28th)
College of Saint Mary
Scoring Offense: 56.6 (170th)
Scoring Defense: 73.5 (151st)
FG% Offense: .379 (T-125th)
FG% Defense: .404 (T-122nd)
3-pt FG% Offense: .247 (T-169th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .357 (T-177th)
Free Throw%: .589 (177th)
Rebound Margin: -2.75 (T-135th)
Turnover Margin: -6.50 (182nd)
Protocols for fans
Concordia home games: Consistent with state directed health measures, Concordia will allow up to 50 percent capacity for its home games. Fans are encouraged to purchase advance tickets online (https://www.cune.edu/athletics/tickets). Tickets will also be sold at the door, provided capacity limits have not been reached via online sales.
--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 also played only once last week. In a matchup of teams that entered the game tied for second place, Concordia defeated Briar Cliff, 65-59, on Jan. 23. Freshman guard Taysha Rushton played a major role in helping the Bulldogs build a 30-21 halftime lead. Rushton wound up with 20 points on the strength of 5-for-7 shooting from 3-point range. Junior Taylor Cockerill added 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals and Mackenzie Koepke contributed nine points, eight rebounds and a blocked shot. On the defensive end, the Bulldogs limited the Chargers to 33.8 percent shooting and star Konnor Sudmann went just 3-for-13 from the floor (nine points). The Bulldogs effectively avenged their 69-59 loss at Briar Cliff that occurred on Dec. 5.
Dominance vs. CSM
College of Saint Mary joined the GPAC prior to the start of the 2015-16 season. As GPAC opponents, Concordia has won all 11 meetings with the Flames and only one of those contests was decided by single digits. The Bulldogs have scored at least 86 points in each of the past nine get-togethers. The 127 points scored by Concordia versus CSM on Nov. 29, 2017, stand as a single-game school record. Earlier this season, 14 Bulldogs registered in the scoring column in a 99-47 win over the Flames in Omaha. These two programs met at the national tournament in the second round in 2015. Concordia won, 92-82.
Matchups as GPAC opponents
1/13/16 – W, 73-67 (Omaha)
2/17/16 – W, 74-62 (Seward)
11/30/16 – W, 95-56 (Seward)
1/18/17 – W, 101-77 (Omaha)
11/29/17 – W, 114-56 (Seward)
1/17/18 – W, 86-57 (Omaha)
11/20/18 – W, 88-55 (Omaha)
2/13/19 – W, 95-51 (Seward)
11/20/19 – W, 127-51 (Seward)
1/15/20 – W, 108-64 (Omaha)
11/24/20 – W, 99-47 (Omaha)
Taysha Rushton lit it up last week in her 20-point performance versus Briar Cliff. It marked the fourth 20-point outing of the season for the freshman from Lubbock, Texas. Rushton also poured in 23 versus Midland, 23 versus Mount Marty and 28 (career high) at Northwestern. Among all NAIA players, Rushton makes 16th for most made 3-point field goals (43). On the GPAC leaderboard, Rushton ranks second in free throw percentage (.823), fourth in 3-point field goals per game (2.15), eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (.347), 11th in scoring (13.6), 12th in assists per game (2.90) and 14th in steals per game (1.70).
Cockerill moves into program’s top 20
With the 15 points Taylor Cockerill scored in last week’s win over Briar Cliff, the Waverly High School product passed Teresa Noffke (1,207) for 20th on the program’s all-time scoring list. Cockerill has produced 1,218 points during a collegiate career that began with the 2017-18 season. Next up on the list for Cockerill to pass are Amy Scheil (1,244), Tracy Peitz (1,277) and Katie Rich (1,293). Twice this season Cockerill has put up 33 points in a game, seven shy of her career best of 40 (which ranks as the second highest single-game total in program history). Cockerill has also amassed career totals of 430 rebounds, 219 assists and 172 steals over 95 games played.
Olson chasing 400
It hasn’t taken long for Drew Olson to move from his 300th career win to knocking on the door of 400. Olson enters this week with a career record of 398-105 since being hired as head coach prior to the start of the 2006-07 season. According to NAIA records, Olson began this season with the 14th most wins among active NAIA women’s basketball coaches. Of the top 25 active coaches listed by the NAIA, Olson ranks No. 3 in winning percentage. A former Bulldog standout under Coach Grant Schmidt, Olson has led the program to 30 or more wins in a season six times and to 25 or more wins 10 times over his first 14 seasons. In GPAC games only, Olson has produced a record of 226-68.
At least for now, Concordia (12-5 GPAC) stands alone in second place in the league standings. Morningside (15-1 GPAC) has established itself as the clear frontrunner while it chases its first GPAC regular-season title since the 2015-16 season. The Bulldogs will have plenty of competition down the stretch for that No. 2 spot with Northwestern (11-5), Briar Cliff (11-6), Dordt (11-6), Jamestown (9-6) and Dakota Wesleyan (9-6) each sporting either five or six conference losses. Among conference teams, Northwestern’s six-game win streak ranks second only to Morningside’s 11-game string.
Scouting College of Saint Mary
College of Saint Mary snapped a 12-game losing streak last week when it blew out Doane, 81-44, in Omaha. The Flames followed it up with an 84-51 loss at Dakota Wesleyan on Sunday. The program has struggled to return to the level it achieved just before joining the GPAC. College of Saint Mary qualified for the national tournament as recently as 2015. Head Coach Kirk Walker is in his third season at the helm of the program. The team’s top player has been freshman Honnah Leo, who is averaging 14.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
The final road game of the regular season is coming up next Wednesday (Feb. 3) when Concordia will play at Dordt (12-8, 11-6 GPAC). The Bulldogs will close the regular season by hosting Dakota Wesleyan (Feb. 6), Hastings (Feb. 10) and Doane (Feb. 20).
Concordia (13-7, 12-5)
G – Taylor Cockerill, Jr. (15.0)
G – Bailey Conrad, Fr. (4.2)
G – Taysha Rushton, Fr. (13.3)
F – Mackenzie Koepke, Jr. (7.5)
F – Rylee Pauli, Jr. (6.7)
College of Saint Mary (2-14, 1-12)
G – Kenzi Hoit, So. (4.4)
G – Jada Scott, Jr. (5.5)
G/F – Honnah Leo, Fr. (14.3)
G/F – Madelyn Turner, So. (7.5)
F – Clare Lewandowski, So. (6.3)