Concordia enters 2024 versus Jimmies and Tigers

By Chase Benton on Jan. 1, 2024 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – The Bulldogs will enter 2024 surging back into conference play with a rematch in Jamestown on Wednesday (Jan. 3) night. After returning home, they will step on the hardwood in front of the Bulldog faithful, hosting Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday (Jan. 6) for the first time this season. Concordia returned from its Arizona trip, after stealing two road wins in grinch-like fashion, defeating Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (94-70) and Arizona Christian University (86-61) in back to back days (Dec. 18-19). Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad is one win away from double digits (9-2) and remains 5-2 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.

This Week

Wednesday, Jan. 3 at Jamestown (7-6, 3-4 GPAC), 6 p.m. CT
-- Live Webcast | Live Stats | Location: Harold Newman Arena (Jamestown, N.D.)

Saturday, Jan. 6 vs. Dakota Wesleyan (10-3, 5-2 GPAC), 2 p.m. CT
-- Live Webcast | Live Stats | Location: Friedrich Arena (Seward, Neb.)

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By the numbers

·        After giving up the most points (74) all season versus Briar Cliff, the Dawg defense looked to wreak havoc on Embry-Riddle, causing 28 total turnovers on 19 steals. On the offensive end, the visitors drained 16 from beyond the arc (55.2 percent), as Taysha Rushton (four), Megan Belt (three), Sadie Powell (three) and Kendal Brigham (three) collectively hit double-digit treys. Rushton led the team with 21 points on 4-of-6 from the field, with Powell collecting 18 points on 70 percent (7-of-10) shooting and five rebounds in the bout. With the Eagles hanging around halfway through the third, the visitors stepped on the gas and went on a 17-5 run to end the frame. Powell led the drive, having eight of her own. Megan Belt, Bree Bunting and Juliana Jones all chipped in on the 12-point scoring advantage, climbing to a 65-44 lead and putting the game out of reach with a quarter to play.

·        The pace, tenacity and talent of the 11th-ranked Bulldogs took over in the process of running away from host Arizona Christian University, 86-61, in Glendale, Ariz., on Tuesday (Dec. 19). Concordia’s smothering defense limited the Firestorm to 36.4 percent shooting inside the intimate confines of the ACU Events Center. Rushton tallied 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Belt had 12 points (4-of-8 FG) and was the only other Bulldog to reach double figures. The team chose to spread the wealth with five players having at least seven, starting with Kendal Brigham (nine), Juliana Jones (eight), Abby Krieser (eight), Abby Heemstra (seven) and Sadie Powell (seven). Though she notched only two points, Mackenzie Toomey stuffed the stat sheet with 11 rebounds, five assists and five steals.

·        The three point shot has been falling for Concordia, having made 27 threes in the past two games. They lead the conference in made three-pointers with 114. Belt leads the team in percentage (46.7), which is good enough for second in the conference coming into the new year. The Bulldogs have made eight double digit performances from the perimeter, in which they have won all eight games. Rushton leads the team with 24 made from downtown, followed by Sammy Leu (18), Brigham (15), Belt (14) and Powell (11).

·        After having stellar back to back defensive showings, Concordia has averaged 14.6 steals per game, garnering the 2nd best average in the NAIA. Their first 11 opponents have averaged 24.3 turnovers per game (5th in NAIA) and have totaled 267 turnovers forced. One hundred and sixty one of those turnovers have come via steals. Mackenzie Toomey leads the team with 32 (2.91 PG) and had the team high (five) versus Arizona Christian. She is eight steals away from 150 in her career.

Concordia Projected Starting Five
G – Mackenzie Toomey, 5-9 (5.6)
G – Taysha Rushton, 5-5 (17.1)
G – Abby Krieser, 5-8 (11.4)
F – Sadie Powell, 6-0 (10.2)
F – Kristin Vieselmeyer, 6-1 (6.0)


The Jimmies come into 2024 with a 7-6 overall record and ride a two game win steak after defeating No.16 Providence (71-63) of Montana and Valley City State (68-58) of North Dakota. Jamestown is unranked but has proven to be a tough test for anyone after also defeating the then-ranked No. 7 Concordia (71-61) in their first meeting. They were also single digits away from a win over No. 5 Carroll College (Mont.). Guard Kate Cordes leads the team with 17.2 points per game, followed by Center Audrey Rodakowski with 13.4. Kate Busek grabs 6.3 rebounds every 40 minutes and Rodakowski sits at 5.8. The Jimmies average 70.6 points per game and a whopping 39.4 rebounds per game.

Jamestown Projected Starting Five
G – Kate Cordes, 5-8 (17.2)
G – Kia Tower, 5-6 (12.1)
G – Kate Busek, 5-9 (7.4)
F – Jailyn Martinson, 5-9 (3.8)
C – Audrey Rodakowski, 6-0 (13.4)

Dakota Wesleyan

The Tigers are 10-3 coming into the new year and are 5-2 in the conference, a three-way tie for third place with Concordia and Northwestern. Dakota Wesleyan is on a five game win streak, having only lost once in December to a receiving votes NWC. The most notable win was against No. 13 Dakota State University (S.D.) in a 17-point (69-52) victory. They have also defeated Mount Marty (76-50), Florida National University (95-48), St. Thomas University (72-52) of Florida and Valley City State (79-63). The Tigers average 79.3 points per game while giving up the same number to their opponents. They average 43.1 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from three. Emma Yost paces the team with 16.2 points a contest, followed by Shalayne Nagel and Isabel Ihnen at 9.5 apiece. Morgan Edelman has control of the ball much of the time with 7.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists every 40 minutes.

Dakota Wesleyan Projected Starting Five
G – Rylee Rosenquist, 5-7 (8.6)
G – Shalayne Nagel, 6-0 (9.5)
G – Morgan Edelman, 5-7 (6.8)
G – Isabel Ihnen, 5-8 (9.5)
F – Emma Yost, 5-11 (16.2)

Next week

Concordia will stay at home the week after, hosting two conference games. On Wednesday (Jan. 10), the Dawgs will host Doane and finish the week with No. 1 Dordt on Saturday (Jan. 13). This will be the first time they have played either team this season.