SEWARD, Neb. – Another challenging week of GPAC play awaits the Concordia University Women’s Basketball team, which is coming off two closely contested outings last week. The Bulldogs fell at Dakota Wesleyan, 85-80, on Jan. 6 despite a 33-point outburst from Taylor Cockerill. They returned to the win column three days later with a 67-61 home win over Jamestown. Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad now has its sights set on rematches with Mount Marty and No. 14 Morningside.
Concordia (11-6, 10-4) vs. No. 14 Morningside (13-2, 11-1)
Saturday, Jan. 16 | 2 p.m.
Friedrich Arena | Seward, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Concordia Sports Network
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentator: Evan Jones
*2020-21 NAIA national rank in parentheses
-NOTE: 182 of 235 NAIA women’s basketball programs have played at least one game this season.
Scoring Offense: 77.6 (33rd)
Scoring Defense: 67.9 (93rd)
FG% Offense: .380 (T-117th)
FG% Defense: .392 (93rd)
3-pt FG% Offense: .320 (62nd)
3-pt FG% Defense: .329 (T-140th)
Free Throw%: .741 (T-33rd)
Rebound Margin: -0.71 (104th)
Turnover Margin: +6.94 (22nd)
Scoring Offense: 59.1 (151st)
Scoring Defense: 76.3 (158th)
FG% Offense: .348 (T-156th)
FG% Defense: .436 (T-158th)
3-pt FG% Offense: .272 (T-132nd)
3-pt FG% Defense: .366 (T-171st)
Free Throw%: .668 (110th)
Rebound Margin: -10.0 (T-166th)
Turnover Margin: -0.87 (109th)
Scoring Offense: 80.3 (22nd)
Scoring Defense: 60.7 (34th)
FG% Offense: .444 (T-22nd)
FG% Defense: .385 (T-74th)
3-pt FG% Offense: .377 (13th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .293 (T-67th)
Free Throw%: .752 (T-27th)
Rebound Margin: +1.80 (72nd)
Turnover Margin: +6.80 (24th)
Protocols for fans
At Mount Marty: Visiting fans are not allowed to attend games at Mount Marty.
Concordia home games: Consistent with state directed health measures, Concordia will allow up to 50 percent capacity for its home games. Fans are encouraged to purchase advance tickets online (https://www.cune.edu/athletics/tickets). Tickets will also be sold at the door, provided capacity limits have not been reached via online sales.
--NOTE: All GPAC events require fans to wear face coverings. To review specific COVID-19 protocols for the GPAC and its member institutions, visit: http://www.gpacsports.com/gpac-covid19-fan-protocols.
The Bulldogs went 1-1 last week with an 85-80 loss at Dakota Wesleyan and a 67-61 home win over Jamestown. In the defeat at DWU, Concordia fell behind 42-22 in the first half before rallying to get within two in the final quarter. Star guard Taylor Cockerill poured in 33 points on 12-for-19 shooting in leading the comeback effort. Ultimately, the Tigers claimed victory while shooting 52.5 percent from the floor. They got a team high 25 points from Haidyn Pitsch. Three days later, the Bulldogs returned home and shook off a 10-point deficit on the way to the win over Jamestown. Concordia overcame 33.3 percent shooting with the help of margins of plus-nine in rebounding and plus-six in turnovers. Cockerill (14), Taysha Rushton (12) and Bailey Conrad (10) scored in double figures for the Bulldogs. Concordia completed a regular-season sweep of the Jimmies.
Cockerill scores 30+ for third time
All-American guard Taylor Cockerill achieved the third 30-point game of her career in the contest at Dakota Wesleyan. During Drew Olson’s tenure (began in 2006-07), six different players have scored 30 points in a game at least once (see list below). Cockerill’s career high for a single game remains 40 points, a number she put up in the 2018-19 season opener. On the program’s all-time list, Cockerill ranks 21st with 1,175 career points. Last week she passed former teammate Mary Janovich (1,159) on the list. Immediately in front of Cockerill for 20th place is Teresa Nofke (1,207).
30+ points, single game (Olson era)
Bailey Morris (2011-15) – six times
Whitney Stichka (2004-09) – six times
Taylor Cockerill (2017-- ) – three times
Kristen Conahan (2010-14) – twice
Amber Kistler (2010-12) – once
Philly Lammers (2016-20) – once
Olson chasing 400
It hasn’t taken long for Drew Olson to move from his 300th career win to knocking on the door of 400. Olson enters this week with a career record of 396-104 since being hired as head coach prior to the start of the 2006-07 season. According to NAIA records, Olson began this season with the 14th most wins among active NAIA women’s basketball coaches. Of the top 25 active coaches listed by the NAIA, Olson ranks No. 3 in winning percentage. A former Bulldog standout under Coach Grant Schmidt, Olson has led the program to 30 or more wins in a season six times and to 25 or more wins 10 times over his first 14 seasons. In GPAC games only, Olson has produced a record of 224-67.
The program has welcomed a couple of new student-athletes in recent weeks. An alum of Millard West High School, Chaise Pfanstiel made her Bulldog debut last week and appeared in the Dakota Wesleyan and Jamestown games. She scored her first points in a Concordia uniform by draining a trey in the win over Jamestown. Pfanstiel began her collegiate career at NCAA Division II Northwest Missouri State University where she red-shirted in 2019-20. Pfanstiel enjoyed a distinguished high school career that saw her win a soccer state championship and average roughly 14 points per game on the basketball court as both a junior and senior. Pfanstiel was a high school teammate of current Bulldog Taylor Farrell and of former star Philly Lammers. The other addition to the team is Abby Aplaca, who played three seasons at Concordia University, Portland, which is now closed. Aplaca has yet to appear in a game for the Bulldogs.
Koepke filling up stat sheet
Lincoln Lutheran alum Mackenzie Koepke’s contributions last week went beyond the scoring column. Koepke is growing more comfortable as a shot blocker. She rejected four shots at Dakota Wesleyan and then blocked three more shots versus Jamestown. In the victory over the Jimmies, Koepke filled the stat sheet with seven points, nine rebounds, three blocks and a steal. Koepke is averaging career highs in rebounding (5.0) and steals (2.1) per game while shooting 31.4 percent from 3-point range. On the program’s all-time list for 3-point field goals, Koepke has moved into a tie for ninth with 157 career treys.
New official GPAC rankings are scheduled to be released on the NAIA website on Monday (Jan. 11). Entering this week, Concordia resides in third place in the GPAC standings, behind Morningside (11-1) and Briar Cliff (10-3). Dordt (9-4), Dakota Wesleyan (7-5) and Northwestern (7-5) are also close behind. As Olson has stated, there is plenty of parity two through seven in the conference. At least for now, Head Coach Jamie Sale’s Mustangs have a leg up when it comes to the GPAC regular-season title race.
Scouting Mount Marty
Mount Marty will be attempting to end a seven-game skid. The Lancers never recovered from a 21-0 hole in their meeting with Concordia in Seward on Dec. 30. Since then, Mount Marty has also been beaten handily by the likes of Briar Cliff, Northwestern and Dordt. The most recent victory for the Lancers came by a 62-53 score over College of Saint Mary on Dec. 2. Karlee McKinney is far and away the team’s leading scorer with an average of 13.3 points per game.
Morningside has emerged as the favorite in the conference race. Before Concordia began its recent reign atop the conference, the Mustangs swept GPAC titles in 2015-16. Sale’s team is looking to get back to that perch behind a talented roster led by Sierra Mitchell and Sophia Peppers. In the first meeting that took place in Sioux City, Morningside blitzed the Bulldogs in the first quarter, shot 50.8 percent for the game and ran away with an 86-67 victory. Morningside has won seven in a row since its 80-78 loss at Briar Cliff. The Mustangs will have a chance for revenge on Wednesday when they host the Chargers.
Following this week’s action, Concordia will have a mid-week bye before hosting Briar Cliff on Saturday, Jan. 23. Starting with the Morningside game, the Bulldogs will play six of their last seven regular-season games at home.
Concordia (11-6, 10-4)
G – Taylor Cockerill, Jr. (15.1)
G – Bailey Conrad, Fr. (4.0)
G – Taysha Rushton, Fr. (14.3)
F – Mackenzie Koepke, Jr. (7.6)
F – Rylee Pauli, Jr. (7.2)
Mount Marty (3-12, 1-11)
G – Kiara Berndt, So. (4.6)
G – Bailey Kortan, So. (5.9)
G – Karlee McKinney, Sr. (13.3)
F – Alexis Arens, Fr. (3.8)
F – Sarah Castaneda, Sr. (4.3)
Morningside (13-2, 11-1)
G – Faith Meyer, Sr. (7.3)
G – Sierra Mitchell, Sr. (17.2)
G – McKenna Sims, So. (6.9)
F – Chloe Lofstrom, Fr. (10.3)
F – Sophia Peppers, Jr. (16.4)