Northwestern used a run in the second half to pick up a 74-67 women’s basketball win on Wednesday evening in Orange City. The 20th-ranked Red Raiders won their eighth straight game to improve to 12-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play. Concordia, ranked seventh in the latest NAIA Top 25 Poll, had its 5-game winning streak snapped. The Bulldogs dropped to 13-2 (6-2 GPAC).
The first half was tightly contested. Defense controlled much of the half, but both teams traded scoring runs in the opening 20 minutes. Northwestern used a 6-0 run to take a 21-16 lead, forcing a Concordia timeout with just under seven minutes left in the half. An offensive rebound and put back by Jericca Pearson (Gibbon, Neb.) ended the Northwestern run, and the Bulldogs followed with a run of their own. Concordia took a 23-21 lead on a 3-pointer by Kristen Conahan (Omaha, Neb.) with four minutes left in the half. Northwestern had another answer, as the Raiders scored eight straight points to take a 29-23 lead. Trailing 31-25, however, the Bulldogs rattled off five straight points to end the half, and Northwestern held a slim 31-30 halftime lead.
Concordia reclaimed the lead early in the second half. An offensive rebound and score by Britney Birtell (Madison, Neb.) gave the Bulldogs a 34-33 advantage. The teams traded the lead multiple times, but a quick 7-0 run put the Raiders back on top by the score of 46-40 with 12 minutes left in the contest. Mackenzie Small scored five points in the Northwestern scoring run. A free throw by Tracy Peitz (Hartington, Neb.) stopped the Raider scoring run and pulled the Bulldogs back within five (46-41), but a 5-0 run put Northwestern on top by 10 (51-41) with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Northwestern extended their lead to 61-47 with eight minutes remaining. Concordia wouldn’t go away, and a 3-pointer by Katie Rich (Tilden, Neb.) cut the Raider lead to six (68-62). Following a steal and Northwestern foul, Peitz made two free throws to pull Concordia within four at 68-64. Concordia had multiple opportunities to cut into the lead, as Northwestern had four straight turnovers. However, Concordia missed multiple shots against the Northwestern zone defense. Conahan managed to hit a 3-pointer to cut the Raider lead to three (70-67) with 19 seconds remaining. The Raiders put the game away with made free throws by Small and Samantha Kleinsasser.
For the game, Northwestern shot 51 percent from the field. The Raiders were 3-of-7 from deep. The combo of Kami Kuhlmann and Kendra De Jong did some damage. Kuhlmann finished with a game-high 18 points and seven assists. She scored 12 of her 18 in the second half. De Jong added 15 points (7-of-11 from the field) and eight rebounds.
Concordia managed just 34 percent shooting on the evening, including just 6-of-24 shooting from long range. Conahan scored a team-high 15 points but was just 6-of-18 from the field (3-of-13 on 3-pointers). Rich added 13 points off the bench. Lori Laboda (Parker, Colo.) delivered 10 points and pulled down eight boards for the Bulldogs in the loss.
Dordt College comes to Seward on Saturday evening following the Lutheran Invitational High School Tournament. Tip between the Bulldogs and Defenders is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Walz Human Performance Complex.