Freshmen Conrad, Rushton sizzle in stomping of Mount Marty

By Jacob Knabel on Dec. 30, 2020 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – It’s really not supposed to look like this after a layoff of nearly two weeks between games. The Concordia University Women’s Basketball team appeared as sharp as ever while making seven-straight treys to begin Wednesday (Dec. 30)’s contest. The Bulldogs held a double-digit lead for more than 37 minutes in what amounted to a 98-53 stomping of visiting Mount Marty. Freshmen Bailey Conrad and Taysha Rushton went wild for a combined 38 points in the win.

Fifteenth-year Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad has put together a three-game win streak in the process of moving to 9-5 overall (8-3 GPAC). Concordia returned to action for the first time since an ugly 55-50 victory at Jamestown on Dec. 18.

“Holy cow, what an impressive start,” Olson said. “I was kind of worried that when you come back from a break you’re not going to be as sharp. My assistant coaches said, ‘No, they’re ready just to play at home.’ We’ve been on the road for so long, you could just tell that they were excited to be here. You’re a lot more confident when you shoot in your own gym.”

Rushton has shown how dynamic she can be at times, but she took it to another level on Wednesday. The rookie guard from Lubbock, Texas, nailed four treys during a 21-0 Bulldog run right out of the gate. The Lancers (3-9, 1-8 GPAC) never had a chance from there on out. Concordia knocked down 17 triples for the night in laying waste to Mount Marty’s zone. Rushton went 5-for-6 from long range while equaling a career high 23 points.

Conrad took over in the second half. The native of Tea, S.D., stepped into a starting role and supplied a career best 15 points on the strength of 3-for-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Conrad also dished out four assists and grabbed five rebounds and two steals. In addition, Kayla Luebbe (11 points, six rebounds) and Taylor Farrell (10 points, three steals) found their way into double figures.

Said Olson of Conrad, “She was awesome tonight. I love how she’s developing, getting that confidence and just being more comfortable out there. She’s playing at a really good pace and I’m excited to see her continue to grow.”

Fifteen Bulldogs saw action on Wednesday and 12 of them registered in the scoring column (eight players made at least one 3-point basket). Taylor Cockerill took only three shots, but led the team with six assists. Chloe Schumacher’s seven rebounds (to go with six points) were tops for a Concordia squad that held a huge advantage (57-37) on the boards. The Bulldogs also turned up the heat with the press and forced 20 Mount Marty turnovers.

The Lancers were led by 12 points from Bailey Kortan. Concordia hounded standout Karlee McKinney (2-for-10, five points) and limited Mount Marty to 30.2 percent shooting for the game.

An offensive outburst like this wasn’t necessarily expected after the Bulldogs had scored 67 points or fewer in each of their previous four games. Said Conrad, “We’re continuing to learn from the leadership we have and stepping into our roles as well as we can.”

Additional noteworthy performances were turned in by Kendal Brigham (six points, three rebounds), Rebecca Higgins (six points, three rebounds), Mackenzie Koepke (eight points, six rebounds, two blocks) and Mackenzie Toomey (five points, six rebounds, three assists).

The Bulldogs will be back on the road for the seventh time in eight outings when they travel to Northwestern (5-6, 5-3 GPAC) on Saturday. Tipoff from the Bultman Center in Orange City, Iowa, is set for 2 p.m. CT. The Red Raiders are permitting fans up to 50 percent capacity with tickets being sold at the entrance (no online sales). In this season’s first meeting, Concordia defeated Northwestern, 83-72, in Seward.