Home win streak stretches to 30

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 20, 2018 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – The first 17 games of the season were loaded with highly-rated opponents. But for a fourth-straight outing, the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team faced a bottom-half-of-the-GPAC opponent and turned in another lopsided victory. Visiting Dordt became the latest victim in what amounted to a 107-68 Bulldog win inside Walz Arena on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 20).

At 21-0 overall and 13-0 in conference play, 12th-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad is ready to be challenged again. Concordia has run its home win streak to an even 30.

“Our kids are doing a great job coming into each game with a good focus and good energy level,” Olson said. “We are taking care of business and just kind of wearing teams down in the second half. I think we’re doing a real good job defensively of working on some different things like we did today.”

This was really just your standard 2017-18 Bulldog performance. While the Defenders (9-13, 4-9 GPAC) hung in for a while, a late first half surge and then a solid run of play in the third quarter put the game on ice. Not only did senior Dani Hoppes move past 1,000 career points in the win, she also was a major force as a defensive pest. She plucked six steals and helped bother Dordt into committing 34 turnovers.

Saturday’s affair just felt like so many games have this season for Concordia. With less than three minutes remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs led by only six (37-31), but it seemed that the floodgates could open up at any moment – and they eventually did with the aid of six Concordia double-figure scorers: Hoppes, Taylor Cockerill (14), Quinn Wragge (13), Brenleigh Daum (11), MacKenzie Helman (11) and Colby Duvel (10). Fifty points were delivered by Bulldog reserves.

On the other side, Dordt didn’t lack in the effort department. Unlike the first matchup in Sioux Center, Iowa – a 101-55 pasting – the Defenders had point guard Annie Rhinesmith available. She recorded seven points while also turning it over six times. They were paced by the 14 points of Ebby Prewitt off the bench.

For the second time in less than two weeks, the prospect of a Bulldog reaching 1,000 career points kept the interest of the Walz crowd even with the outcome of the game already decided. Olson allowed Hoppes the opportunity to play deep into the fourth quarter in hopes of having her achieve that milestone at home. With under 2:30 left, Hoppes brought the crowd to its feet with a bomb that moved her into quadruple digits.

“It’s just really special and I feel so blessed to be surrounded by this community and my team,” Hoppes said. “The encouragement that I get from being on this team is really special.”

Hoppes totaled 436 of her points in two seasons at Midland. Since transferring, the Lincoln Christian High School product has tallied 565 points. She joins Wragge (1,175) and Mary Janovich (1,026) as Bulldogs to have eclipsed the 1,000-point mark this season.

The Bulldogs will be back on the road on Wednesday for a trip to 11th-ranked Hastings (18-3, 9-3) GPAC. Tipoff from Lynn Farrell Arena in Hastings is set for 6 p.m. CT. When the two sides met in Walz Arena on Dec. 6, Concordia rallied from a 12-point deficit to claim a 77-65 victory over the Broncos. Wednesday’s big clash will precede the 67th annual Concordia Invitational Tournament (Jan. 26-27).

Shandra Farmer and Hastings will threaten the Bulldogs’ undefeated record. Said Olson, “They’re just a really tough, gritty group, very physical and a great defensive team. They’re a really good team so we better be ready.”