Dawgs light up scoreboard in CIT blowout over CUW

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 27, 2023 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – It looked like vintage Concordia University Nebraska Women’s Basketball on day one of the 70th Concordia Invitational Tournament. The harassing full-court pressure and 3-point marksmanship of the Bulldogs made for a rout from the opening tip. While hosting CIT for the first time since 2017, CUNE cruised to a 100-49 win over Concordia University Wisconsin on Friday (Jan. 27). Friedrich Arena saw its most frenzied atmosphere yet this season.

Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad moved to 14-7 overall in the process of extending a program winning streak of 15 games at CIT.

“The biggest thing was the crowd and how awesome that was,” Olson said. “The environment was incredible. It’s just really cool for our players to experience that. My hope is they just keep coming out now. They see it’s a fun atmosphere and it’s fun to go crazy and cheer. It’s a good team to cheer for. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.”

After a two-year absence from CIT, the Bulldogs are back to winning at the event in a leave-no-doubt fashion. Kendal Brigham notched the final four points of a 15-1 run to open the game – and the lead only grew from there. The only real drama late the contest centered upon whether CUNE would crack the century mark for the first time this season. That feat came to fruition in the closing minutes when Destiny Shepherd fired in a trey, much to the crowd’s delight.

Most critically, the Bulldogs are winning because they are playing with their hair on fire defensively. CUW (9-9) went nearly seven minutes before finally scoring its first bucket. The Falcons struggled to the tune of 25.9 percent shooting (14-for-54) overall. Matters were made worse by CUNE’s crater-sized 53-33 advantage on the boards. It was clear – the Bulldogs fed on the crowd. They shot impressively from 3-point range (15-for-38) and from the foul line (15-for-16).

Taylor Farrell got going with eight points (two treys) in the first half and was one of 13 Bulldogs with at least five points on the evening. Said Farrell, “This year hasn’t been the most ideal for me, but my teammates have been extremely supportive … I’m really proud of this team. It’s been really special to go out there and do that (play in CIT).”

Taysha Rushton drained three triples in the fourth quarter and wound up leading all scorers with 15 points (to go with a pair of steals). Kristin Vieselmeyer (11 points and seven rebounds) also reached double figures off the bench. Reece Snodgrass hustled her way to six points and eight rebounds and Brigham posted seven points, six assists and six rebounds. Also noteworthy, Mackenzie Koepke splashed home two long range jumpers and became the sixth player in program history to reach 200 career 3-point field goals.

Said Olson, “It was good to have everybody get a little more confidence. Everybody was in on the action. That always makes it more fun … It’s so cool to see Willy out there. She’s going to continue to give us some quality minutes throughout the season. She’s one of the two that has been a part of CIT. The CIT she got to be a part of – she got injured. For her to experience this and have that kind of success is awesome.”

The 70th CIT will continue on Saturday with cheer and dance competitions and four more basketball games. In the 5 p.m. CT championship game, the Bulldogs will go up against fellow NAIA member Concordia University Chicago (9-9). The Cougars topped Concordia University Ann Arbor, 71-65, in the opening game of the tournament. Winner of 30 all-time CIT titles, CUNE will be aiming to run its active string to eight in a row.