Ninth-ranked Bulldogs top Nebraska Wesleyan for 14th-straight time

By Dane Wolfgram on Feb. 5, 2014 in Women's Basketball

Ninth-ranked Bulldogs top Nebraska Wesleyan for 14th-straight time

LINCOLN, Neb. – Very little comes easy in the loaded GPAC, but on Wednesday the ninth-ranked Concordia women’s basketball team cruised to a 72-54 victory over host Nebraska Wesleyan. It marked the Bulldogs’ 14th-straight win in the series with the rival Prairie Wolves (1-19, 0-15 GPAC), whose only triumph came in their season opener.

Eighth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad moved to 21-5 overall and 13-3 in GPAC play.

“Our first half was really good,” Olson said. “We had a lot of energy and focus and caused turnovers. We’re still a little spacy offensively. We’re not seeing the court as well as we should at times.

“In the second half we were not good enough to get better like we need to. We need our bench to continue to improve.”

In a game in which Concordia distanced itself early on, the biggest news to come out of Wednesday’s affair was the return of senior guard Kristen Conahan from an injury she suffered on Jan. 8. Donning a protective brace on her left knee, Conahan played nine minutes and went 0-for-1 from the field.

“It was a great night to put her in,” Olson said. “We wanted to see if she could go. We had a good cushion at the time and she had looked good. She’s able to do the things we need. She can shoot and she can defend. I think we need her and her ability to space the defense at this point.”

But Conahan was hardly needed on this night. Teammate Tracy Peitz starred as she went for 17 points and five rebounds while collaborating on a pressure defense that destroyed Nebraska Wesleyan to the tune of 31 turnovers (21 in the first half).

With the Prairie Wolves giving up the ball with alarming frequency, Concordia enjoyed its first double-digit lead less than nine minutes into play and held a virtually insurmountable 43-19 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs finished the half on a 24-8 run and had total control.

The big lead allowed Olson to empty the bench. The result was a balanced effort that saw seven Bulldogs post five or more points. Five freshmen saw action and combined for 28 points, led by Devin Edwards’ nine. Shelby Quinn’s seven points were a career high.

There were a couple of bright spots for a Prairie Wolves team that had three players turn it over five or more times. They were paced by the 18-point performance from Felicia TeKolste. In addition, head coach Britni Fett’s squad went on a 14-5 run to end the game.

The comfortable win did not come via hot shooting as Concordia posted a 32.4-percent field goal percentage against a predominantly zone defense. The Prairie Wolves managed only a 32.7-percent clip.

The Bulldogs go back on the road on Saturday for a 2 p.m. tilt at Dakota Wesleyan (15-10, 8-8 GPAC). In the season’s first meeting, Concordia ran away with an 85-66 win over the Tigers in Seward on Dec. 20. Dakota Wesleyan has lost four straight after Wednesday night’s 71-70 defeat at Dordt.

With No. 5 Hastings’ (12-3 GPAC) upset loss at Doane on Wednesday, the Bulldogs again control their own destiny for at least a share of the conference title.