Concordia to open 2021-22 season with No. 9 national ranking

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 27, 2021 in Women's Basketball

2021-22 NAIA Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll

SEWARD, Neb. – A national quarterfinal finish last season has spring-boarded the Concordia University Women’s Basketball program into the top 10 of the 2021-22 NAIA Preseason Coaches’ Poll. In the poll released on Wednesday (Oct. 27), the Bulldogs checked in at No. 9 with 398 points. As for the GPAC preseason poll announced last week, Concordia was placed second behind defending conference champion Morningside.

This marks the 14th-straight year that Head Coach Drew Olson’s program has garnered a national top 25 ranking in the preseason. Both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 squads started and ended their seasons with NAIA Division II No. 1 national rankings. Beginning with last season, the NAIA merged the two divisions into one. The Bulldogs finished last season at 22-9 overall. They were slotted at No. 11 nationally in the preseason and were ranked 17th heading into the national tournament. The NAIA did not produce a postseason women’s basketball poll.

Olson’s program has taken up residence in the NAIA national poll. Dating back to the start of the 2011-12 season, Concordia has appeared inside the top 25 in 102 of the past 103 NAIA coaches’ polls. During Olson’s tenure, the Bulldogs have appeared at No. 1 in 16 separate polls. Over the past four completed national tournaments, Concordia has reached at least the national quarterfinals each time with the highlight being the national title in 2019. Olson’s teams have advanced to the national semifinals a total of five times.

The 2021-22 squad will again lean upon the explosive scoring abilities of Taysha Rushton, who is joined by returning starters in Bailey Conrad, Mackenzie Koepke and Rylee Pauli. Concordia brings back 11 players from last season’s national tournament roster. The highlight of the campaign was the win over fifth-ranked Marian University (Ind.) in the NAIA national round of 16.

Based on the preseason poll, the Bulldogs will play seven regular season games against top 25 opponents: No. 2 Thomas Moore, No. 3 Campbellsville, No. 6 Morningside (twice), No. 8 Wayland Baptist, No. 13 Dakota State and No. 18 Sterling. GPAC foes Dordt and Northwestern are both listed as receiving votes.

Concordia will open the 2021-22 campaign next Monday (Nov. 1) by hosting Bellevue University at 7 p.m. CT. The Bruins received votes in the NAIA preseason poll.

Preseason rankings under Olson
2021-22: 9
2020-21: 11
2019-20: 1
2018-19: 1
2017-18: 3
2016-17: 14
2015-16: 4
2014-15: 9
2013-14: 5
2012-13: 1
2011-12: 22
2010-11: 11
2009-10: 22
2008-09: 7
2007-08: NR
2006-07: NR

Final end of season rankings under Olson
2020-21: 17
2019-20: 1
2018-19: 1
2017-18: 2
2016-17: 3
2015-16: 19
2014-15: 2
2013-14: 13
2012-13: 9
2011-12: 3
2010-11: NR
2009-10: NR
2008-09: 8
2007-08: 10
2006-07: NR