SEWARD, Neb. – Following both of this season’s defeats, the 21st-ranked Concordia University Women’s Basketball team has bounced back in a big way. In Wednesday (Nov. 17)’s GPAC home action, the Bulldogs shot a blistering 50 percent while overwhelming Midland, 93-52, inside Friedrich Arena. On this evening, star guard Taysha Rushton got plenty of help in the scoring department.
Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad effectively rebounded from a 74-68 loss at Briar Cliff over the weekend. Concordia moved to 3-2 overall (1-1 GPAC).
“Our players just came ready to play and had great focus, great energy,” Olson said. “Thankfully we hit some shots – that always makes a huge difference. But really, I just thought we were a little bit more focused. I think this group is getting better and growing up a little bit. It’s awesome to see.”
By halftime, the Bulldogs had built a commanding advantage thanks to dominant first and second quarters. Rushton poured in 12 of her game high 17 points in the opening quarter as Concordia raced to a 54-28 lead at the break. Like vintage Bulldog teams, this edition can hit the opponent with waves of reinforcements. It was a fine night off the bench for Sadie Powell, who turned in a line of 15 points (6-for-6 from the field), six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
This was the best Concordia’s offense has operated so far this season. Rushton had no trouble beating her opponent off the dribble – or letting open teammates fire away from beyond the arc. Taylor Farrell knocked down her first three attempts from beyond the arc while helping fuel the blowout. Six different Bulldogs drilled at least one 3-point field goal, including Kendal Brigham (4-for-5 on 3-point attempts). As a team, Concordia went 13-for-26 from distance.
Brigham is part of a large group of second-year players that will have a lot to say about how far this season goes. Said Brigham, “We have a really big class, and they’re really fun to play with. I think we play really well together.”
It was a different story on the other end of the floor. The Bulldogs were solid in their halfcourt defense while limiting Midland (3-2, 0-1 GPAC) to 15-for-61 (.246) shooting from the field. Only Peyton Wingert (15 points) managed to reach double figures for the visitors. In addition, the Warriors were outclassed on the boards, 48-37, and had a minus-five margin in turnovers.
All game, the Bulldogs used their athleticism in getting just about whatever shots they wanted. Bailey Conrad (14) and Abby Heemstra (12) also reached double figures for the home team. Conrad and Rushton dished out four assists apiece. The shots were going to start falling eventually.
Said Olson, “Our decision making was a little bit better in terms of what’s the shot we really want. When you hit shots it always kind of frees up the game for each player. You gain confidence from each other … I thought Sadie and Bailey played well and Taysha as always. Kendal had a great game too. It’s just really good to see them grow and continue to get better.”
For the second Saturday in a row, the Bulldogs will be headed to northwest Iowa. Concordia and No. 16 Dordt (5-2, 0-1 GPAC) will go head-to-head at 4 p.m. CT from Sioux Center, Iowa. The Defenders struggled through a rough conference opener on Wednesday, falling, 83-64, at No. 12 Morningside. The Bulldogs defeated Dordt twice last season.