Challenging week concludes with tight loss at No. 14 Northwestern

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 22, 2022 in Women's Basketball

By Sam Firminhac, Athletic Communications

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – The Concordia University Women’s Basketball team couldn’t quite get over the hump on Saturday (Jan. 22) afternoon, as it fell to 14th-ranked Northwestern. Although the No. 19 Bulldogs tied the game late in the fourth quarter, they missed out on potential buckets in the clutch and lost, 74-68. Concordia competed closely the whole way, tying the score on seven different occasions, but failed to grab a lead.

With the loss Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad slipped to 12-9 overall (9-6 GPAC). Coach Olson thinks believes his team is on the cusp of turning the corner in these types of games. The Bulldogs also dropped an overtime decision to No. 8 Morningside on Wednesday.

“We started off slow again. They did a really nice job against our zone and we switched to zone, and I thought we did a great job competing,” Olson said. “We battled back to get within striking distance at halftime. Third quarter was a great game back and forth – same with the fourth. We just could never get over the hump and get the lead. Late in the game, we just couldn’t get the stop after we tied the game. It’s two games in a row we’ve played great teams. To beat a great team you have to step and make plays. We didn’t do it today, but I like how our team is fighting and competing. We’re right there.”

Taysha Ruston had a big day for the Bulldogs, scoring 26 points and snagging four rebounds (12th career game of 20 or more points). Mackenzie Toomey was the only other player in double figures, coming off the bench and scoring 10 points. Toomey also led Concordia in rebounds with seven. Kayla Luebbe chipped in with nine points and three rebounds. Sadie Powell had seven points in the contest while also grabbing three rebounds and blocking two shots. Taylor Farrell added eight points and four rebounds.

Said Olson, “Taysha played really well – great aggressiveness. Willy (Farrell) was really good. (Rylee) Pauli plays her tail off inside. We had a lot of people play well. We need a few people to step up and knock down a big shot. We didn’t do it today, but I think we will in the future. We just have to stay the course.”

Concordia, normally competitive on the boards, was outrebounded 46-35 in the contest. The Raiders (19-3, 11-3 GPAC) were able to steal nine offensive rebounds, which led to 14 second chance points. The Bulldogs shot 18.2 percent (4-for-22) from the three-point line, including an 0-for-6 stretch to start the game and an 0-for-8 stretch in the fourth quarter. Northwestern also struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 20 percent (4-for-20).

The Raiders were led by Taylor VanderVelde, who had had 16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in the game. Molly Schany also put up a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Two other Northwestern players were in double figures: Devyn Kemble with 12 and Maddie Jones with 10. Emilee Danner also chipped in for the Raiders with 10 rebounds and seven points.

Concordia returns home on Wednesday night (Jan. 26) to take on Hastings (10-10, 6-8 GPAC). The two teams met earlier in the season where the Bulldogs handled the Broncos comfortably, 91-69. Wednesday’s game is set to tip off at 6 p.m. CT inside Friedrich Arena.