SEWARD, Neb. – Throughout most of this season, the second-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team has made it look easy. That wasn’t the case in Wednesday’s GPAC dogfight with ninth-ranked Hastings. But the Bulldogs bit hard in the fourth quarter and pulled away from the Broncos for a 68-47 win inside Walz Arena.
No team has been quite prepared for the 40-minute root canal opponents are subjected to at Walz. Eleventh-year head coach Drew Olson’s program is 80-9 at home since the start of 2011-12 and a perfect 10-0 this season at Walz. Concordia has won 21-straight games and sits at 21-1 overall and at 14-0 in league play.
“I thought that was one of the best defensive teams we’ve played,” Olson said. “They were really physical and did a great job defending us. It was a grind but at the same time, I couldn’t be more proud of our kids for how they played in that fourth quarter. They executed really well in the fourth and defended. That’s when we started getting easy baskets.”
The Broncos (18-5, 11-3 GPAC) never did figure out how to contain Philly Lammers, whose stock keeps on rising in her freshman campaign. She was a constant force even as the Bulldogs struggled offensively through the first three quarters. Lammers burned Hastings for career highs of 23 points and 14 rebounds.
After trailing 42-39 late in the third quarter, python-like Concordia squeezed the life out of the Broncos. Concordia allowed Hastings just two made field goals over the final 11-and-a-half minutes of game time during a defining run of 29-5 to close it out. During that spurt, the Broncos turned it over 11 times.
The Bulldogs have a way of taking teams out of any semblance of an offensive rhythm. Tenacious D again fueled the continuation of Concordia’s win streak. The Broncos finished with a shooting percentage of just 34.0 and were flustered into 26 turnovers.
“I like these games. It’s good for us,” Olson said. “It just reaffirmed that our kids have great confidence. They’re composed regardless of what the score is. They believe they’re going to find a way to win every single time.”
Lammers hasn’t felt pressure as a rookie, because she’s never had to do it alone. The soul-crushing Bulldog run got kicked into overdrive with a pair of Dani Andersen triples – one at the close of the third quarter and another at the outset of the fourth. Later, Mary Janovich had her own personal 5-0 run and Aubri Bro tossed in a late triple for good measure.
Janovich added 10 points in 19 minutes of action. She was the only Concordia double-figure scorer other than Lammers on a night that was more about defense. Lammers swatted two shots while Erin Vieselmeyer did the same off the bench. Lammers, Shelby Quinn and Quinn Wragge each had three steals.
The Bulldogs have gone about their business impressively without focusing on the string of victories.
“It’s there in the back of the mind,” Lammers said. “But the win streak doesn’t matter if we lose the next game. We always just try to keep focus on the next one.”
Lammers has already gotten pretty good at that. Said Olson of the Millard West High School product, “She just plays on another level.”
Hastings got a team high 11 points from Rachel Jelden. The Broncos have now lost back-to-back games, having also fallen to Northwestern, 76-69, on Jan. 21.
The 66th annual Concordia Invitational Tournament is up next. In a rematch of the 2016 CIT title game, the Bulldogs will take on Concordia University, Wisconsin (14-3), an institution affiliated with NCAA Division III, at 6 p.m. CT on Friday. The winner will move on to the championship game at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday. Walz Arena will serve as the venue for CIT for the second time in the event’s history.