By Taylor Mueller, Athletic Communications Assistant
SEWARD, Neb. – After a slow start, it didn’t take long for the ninth-ranked Bulldogs to open the offensive floodgates and enforce their stifling defense on Grace University en route to a dominating 102-31 victory. The win moved Concordia to 6-1 overall.
Momentum swayed back and forth in the early stages of the game, until a Brenleigh Daum bucket with 15:08 remaining in the first half sparked a 41-2 run. At the end of 20 minutes, Concordia had built itself a 49-16 lead.
“We didn’t come out real sharp,” head coach Drew Olson said. “We missed some shots and turned the ball over a couple of times but once we settled down, the game came easily to us. It’s easy to think, ‘let’s get up by 40 (points) right away.’ But you just need to keep grinding each possession and after the first five minutes that what we started to do.”
Sophomore Alayna Daberkow, who had a monster night with her first career double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds (to go with three steals), explained what allowed the Bulldogs to get back on track after a rough start.
“I think it helped a lot once we just loosened up a little bit,” Daberkow said. “We started off kind of tense and were off to a slow start and once we started playing like ourselves it was a lot more fun and easier for us.”
The Bulldogs were certainly prepared to take the reins after the intermission, scoring the first 12 points to begin the second half on their way to a 53-5 run.
Concordia dominated every facet of the game, outrebounding Grace 56-32, accumulating 28 steals, and shooting 92 percent from the charity stripe on the night. Concordia shared the ball exceedingly well, combining for 25 assists. Every single Bulldog who entered the game scored a basket. Concordia showed solid depth as well as nine members of the Bulldog squad contributed with seven or more points.
Mueller pitched in with 13 points, nine of which came from behind the arc as the hot-shooting Mueller shot 50 percent for the game from 3-point land. Freshman Mary Janovich and senior Bailey Morris added 11 and 10 points, respectively, to the Bulldog cause.
Daberkow commented on how her mindset has changed from last season, and the impact that it has had on her game.
“This year, I’ve definitely relaxed a lot more,” Daberkow said. “It’s really fun this year. I just love being on the team with the girls and I like the opportunity so I try to make the best of it.”
Having knocked off three of the four rated teams that they have faced this season, Olson has been mostly pleased with the seven-game start.
“I feel pretty good,” Olson said. “At the start of the season, if you had said we’d be 6-1, I’d be pretty happy with it. I still feel like we let one slip on Saturday and we learned from that lesson, but I like where we’re at.”
Concordia will prepare for a tussle with Briar Cliff University inside Walz Arena at 2 p.m. on Saturday in a matchup that will feature similarities to last week’s game that saw No. 2 Morningside edge the Bulldogs.
“It’s kind of nice playing Briar Cliff and Morningside close together,” Olson said. “They’re the same style of play. We just need to take care of the ball better and make better decisions when we get inside the paint.
“I think they’re a little more perimeter oriented. Their guards shoot the three and they play a little bit faster on offense.”