Early lead evaporates in loss at No. 17 USAO

By Jacob Knabel on Dec. 30, 2022 in Women's Basketball

CHICKASHA, Okla. – In its second leg of the southern tour, the Concordia University Women’s Basketball team shot only 32.3 percent from the floor while failing to keep up with 17th-ranked University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma on Friday (Dec. 30) evening. The Bulldogs fizzled after opening the game on a 16-6 run and fell on the home floor of the Drovers, 77-64. Sadie Powell led the way for Concordia with 17 points.

Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad went 0-2 on the road trip having also been defeated by Texas Wesleyan University, 73-71, on Wednesday. The Bulldogs now stand at 7-6 overall.

“These weren’t the outcomes we had hoped for or expected,” Olson said. “I thought the way we were playing before break, we would be able to get two wins, but we did not perform to our level. Thee were two good teams on the road. We will come together and we will get better. I thought Sadie had an awesome start and played with good confidence.”

USAO (12-1) knocked off some rust early after having been idle since a loss to Texas Wesleyan on Dec. 14. In the early going on Friday, the Drovers struggled with the full-court press, which led to Concordia jetting out to a 10-point lead behind a hot start from Powell (nine points in the first five minutes). USAO made the necessary adjustments and controlled much of the action from that point on. The host shot 50 percent (31-for-62) from the floor while getting 14 or more points from four different players.

Two days earlier, the Bulldogs nearly rallied from 14 points down at Texas Wesleyan. Concordia had hoped to make this one another nail-biter as it slashed an 11-point halftime deficit (44-33) down to five (49-44) midway through the third quarter after Taysha Rushton turned a steal into a transition basket. However, the Bulldogs managed only two free throws the remainder of the period and trailed by 12 to open the fourth quarter.

In a game featuring a nearly even turnover margin (25 turnovers for USAO compared to 24 for Concordia), the greater offensive efficiency and rebounding (47-36) of the Drovers made the difference. Star post player Zaria Dorsey posted 15 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots for the victors. Three of her teammates joined her in double figures: Diaka Berete (15), Lainey Morrow (15) and Tonijah Fortune (14).

The 17 points for Powell were one off a season high. She went 6-for-16 from the floor, pulled down eight rebounds and swiped two steals. Rushton knocked home 16 points on 6-for-17 shooting. Meanwhile, Mackenzie Toomey added nine points, three assists and two steals and Abby Krieser notched six points, six rebounds, three steals and two rejections. While Concordia shot poorly overall, it went 9-for-30 from 3-point range and made 15-of-21 free throw tries. The Bulldogs were attempting to knock off a ranked opponent on the road for the second time this season – they defeated then No. 25 Morningside on Nov. 30.

The Bulldogs will ring in 2023 with a road trip to Mount Marty (4-10, 1-7 GPAC) on Wednesday. Tipoff from Cimpl Arena is slated for 6 p.m. CT. In the meeting that took place in Seward on Dec. 7, Concordia used 21 treys to run away from the Lancers for a 91-48 victory. The Bulldogs have won each of the past 13 series matchups.