SEWARD, Neb. – On an afternoon where the shots weren’t falling, the 14th-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team relied on its pressure defense to turn up the heat on Mount Marty. The Bulldogs forced 25 more turnovers and built a 20-point fourth-quarter lead before polishing off a 75-65 victory over the visiting Lancers inside Walz Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Eleventh-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has won six-straight games and now stands at 6-1 overall and 3-0 in GPAC play. Concordia is 73-9 at home since the start of the 2011-12 season.
“I thought defensively, at the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth quarter, we played really well,” Olson said. “That was the difference. I think after the Midland game we thought everything was going to be easy. Mount Marty is a really well-coached team and disciplined. They made us grind one out. Thankfully we were able to do that.”
A national semifinalist last season, the Lancers hung right with the Bulldogs for the better part of three quarters. But the game turned on a 24-7 run that got going in the third period and continued on into the fourth. Junior guard Mary Janovich helped spark the splurge with a back-breaking play at the close of the third stanza. That’s when she stole a Mount Marty inbounds and dribbled in for a layup just before the buzzer sounded. Concordia led, 50-42.
Many Bulldogs contributed during the game-defining spurt. A Quinn Wragge basket in the lane with just under five minutes remaining pushed the commanding Bulldog lead to 67-47. The final spread of 10 points was as close as the Lancers got over the last nine minutes of the contest.
Mount Marty’s 25 turnovers were compounded by shooting struggles (40.4 percent from the floor). Not only that, the passing lanes were ruled by the likes of Janovich and freshman Philomena Lammers, both of whom plucked five steals on the day.
On the offensive end, Erin Vieselmeyer came off the bench and gave the Lancers’ interior defense fits. Vieselmeyer’s 13 points were one off of Janovich’s team high 14. Vieselmeyer is yet another weapon for Olson, who played 10 Bulldogs 10 or more minutes on Saturday.
“There are so many of us that can play. We’re all really good players,” Vieselmeyer said. “It’s just important that I kept the mindset to keep grinding. Today the guards really passed the ball into me well and I finished really confidently. That’s the game I needed to keep that good mindset.”
Vieselmeyer’s scoring inside was a big plus on an afternoon that saw Concordia shoot 41.4 percent (29-for-70) from the floor. Lammers added 10 points and six rebounds. Senior point guard Shelby Quinn distributed seven assists while chipping in seven points. Sydney Feller also put up eight points off the bench.
Mount Marty (3-4, 0-2 GPAC) is rebuilding after losing senior standouts Alex Kneeland and Raquel Sutera from the 2015-16 team that won 25 games. The Lancers were led on Saturday by the game high 20 points from Sammy Kasowski, who also grabbed 10 rebounds.
The pre-Thanksgiving schedule will wrap up on Tuesday with a short trek to Doane (4-3, 1-0 GPAC) for a 6 p.m. tipoff. In the most recent meeting, the Bulldogs were stunned at home by the Tigers, 91-55. Prior to that game, it had been more than five years since Doane had last beaten Concordia. Head coach Tracee Fairbanks’ squad won at Northwestern, 83-78, on Saturday.