Concordia University and Hastings College battled in a top-15 matchup on Wednesday evening in Hastings. Concordia, the 6th-ranked team in the NAIA, secured a 59-47 win to improve to 15-2 overall and 8-2 in conference play. Hastings College, the 14th-ranked team in the NAIA, dropped to 14-5 overall and 6-4 in GPAC play.
In a battle between the top two defensive teams in the GPAC, points were tough to come by throughout the contest. Both teams struggled to find the range from the field in the opening 20 minutes of play. A 3-pointer by Kristen Conahan (Omaha, Neb.) gave the Bulldogs a 28-24 lead heading into halftime. Conahan hit three 3-pointers and had nine points in the half. The Bulldogs also pulled down 10 offensive rebounds, while the Hastings bench contributed 13 of their 24 points in the opening half.
Concordia built an 11-point lead (36-25) in the early stages of the second half, and a 3-pointer by Amber Kistler (Minatare, Neb.) gave the Bulldogs a 41-29 lead with just under 14 minutes left in the contest. The Broncos used a 7-0 run to pull back within five (41-36), but Kistler quickly responded with another 3-pointer to push the Bulldog lead back to eight at 44-36.
The teams then traded scoring runs. The host Broncos pulled back within five once again, but the Bulldogs again had an answer. Concordia increased the lead back to 11 at 53-42, but Hastings rallied to pull within six at 53-47 with two minutes to play. Conahan ended the Hastings scoring run with a floater in the lane, and Concordia reclaimed an 8-point lead (55-47) with 1:30 left in regulation. The Bulldogs sealed the win with free throws and a breakaway layup by Conahan in the final minute.
Hastings College managed just 16-of-58 shooting from the field for 27.6 percent. The Broncos finished with 21 turnovers and went just 4-of-14 (28.6 percent) from long range. Kayli Rageth and Alicia Statler scored 14 points apiece to lead the way offensively for Hastings in the loss.
Concordia also struggled from the field, finishing just 20-of-62 overall for 32.3 percent. Long range shooting was big for the Bulldogs, however, as Concordia hit nine 3-pointers on the evening. Conahan and Kistler combined for eight makes from deep. Conahan finished with a game-high 19 points, while Kistler added 17. Lori Laboda (Parker, Colo.) just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds on the evening. The Bulldogs had just 10 turnovers in the win.
Things don’t get any easier, as Concordia travels to 5th-ranked Morningside College on Saturday. The Bulldogs will look for some payback following a 69-66 loss to the Mustangs earlier this season. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Sioux City.