YANKTON, S.D. – Instead of draining seven-straight threes like it did to begin the previous matchup with Mount Marty, Concordia University Women’s Basketball built its lead behind lockdown defense on Wednesday (Jan. 13) night. The host Lancers managed only three first-quarter points in what amounted to a 94-62 blowout win for the Bulldogs. They unleashed the press inside Cimpl Arena and forced 26 turnovers.
Fifteenth-year Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad claimed its seventh GPAC road win of the season and moved to 12-6 overall and to 11-4 in the GPAC. Concordia received votes in the new national poll released on Wednesday.
“I thought we came out with really good focus both in the first and third quarters,” Olson said. “We had a little bit of a lapse in the second quarter but overall, I was pleased with how we played … We wanted to use our depth, we wanted to press more tonight and it was kind of like old school Concordia Women’s Basketball. It was fun to see the way we pressed and hopefully we can continue that.”
The Bulldogs dominated both regular-season meetings with Mount Marty (3-12, 1-11 GPAC) from start to finish. The starting five for Concordia completely overwhelmed the Lancers. Taylor Cockerill (11 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the floor) and company led 23-3 at the end of the first quarter. The Bulldogs then poured it on with a 9-0 spurt early in the third period. By the close of the third quarter, Concordia owned an insurmountable 77-38 lead.
Many Bulldogs had a hand in growing that advantage. Sixteen saw action in the game with 13 registering in the scoring column. Eight Concordia players posted eight points or more: Rebecca Higgins (12), Cockerill (11), Kayla Luebbe (10 | 4-for-4 on free throws), Sadie Powell (nine), Mackenzie Toomey (nine), Bailey Conrad (eight), Mackenzie Koepke (eight) and Chloe Schumacher (eight | 6-for-6 on free throws). Higgins sparkled while going 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Koepke, Luebbe and Powell each grabbed four rebounds.
Koepke continues to stuff the stat sheet. She blocked three shots on Wednesday to give her 10 rejections over the past three games. Koepke was also one of three Bulldogs with three steals. The others to swipe a trio of steals were Taylor Farrell and Averie Lambrecht. They also helped in limiting Mount Marty to 34.5 percent shooting.
Making matters worse for the Lancers, they played the game without leading scorer Karlee McKinney. In her absence, Mount Marty was led by 12 points apiece from Eve Millar and Callie Otkin. The Lancers were solid from the foul line (16-for-21), but those numbers could not save them from falling for the eighth-straight outing.
Olson is proud of the work his team has done on the road this season. Concordia will be away from home only once more this regular season. Said Olson, “What came out of it was the toughness we had. We had some great wins on the road – at Jamestown and at Northwestern. Just really gritty performances. I’m really proud of where we’re at right now.”
The Bulldogs will get another shot at first-place Morningside (14-2, 12-1 GPAC) when the two sides get together in Seward on Saturday. Tipoff from Friedrich Arena is set for 2 p.m. CT. Concordia had won eight of the nine meetings prior to the matchup won by the Mustangs, 86-67, in Sioux City, Iowa, on Dec. 12. Now ranked 11th in the NAIA, Morningside will carry an eight-game win streak into the weekend.
Said Olson, “Morningside is awesome. They’re the best team in the league. They have probably two of the top five players in the league. Sierra Mitchell is so hard to guard and Sophia Peppers is really, really good. We have our hands full.”