Offensive growth continues in torching of the Flames

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 11, 2023 in Women's Basketball

OMAHA, Neb. – This was a short weekend road trip that was all about taking care of business. The Concordia University Women’s Basketball team completed a 9-0 regular season against in-state opponents while lighting up the scoreboard in a 99-76 rout of College of Saint Mary on Saturday (Feb. 11). Using a balanced scoring effort, the Bulldogs clinically shot 54.5 percent from the floor inside the Lied Fitness Center in Omaha, Neb.

Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad also won at Doane, 92-80, on Wednesday. The 2-0 week has pushed Concordia to 18-8 (14-6 GPAC) with two games to go in the regular season.

“Overall it was a good game,” Olson said. “That first quarter College of Saint Mary did a great job – great energy and hit some shots. Part of that was our press needs to get a little sharper, but I did like how we responded. We had a great second quarter and then just a phenomenal third quarter. We’re playing really good basketball. We just have to put together a full 40 minutes of focus and understanding of how we need to defend from the beginning.”

These Bulldogs are becoming increasingly comfortable with playing an up-tempo style. Thanks to another frenetic, hot-shooting display, Concordia has reached 85 or more points in five of its last six games. In the latest contest, the Bulldogs allowed the Flames (5-21, 2-18 GPAC) to shoot 53.8 percent in a competitive first quarter. But CSM wasn’t going to keep up with this kind of pace. Concordia took a 47-36 lead to the half and broke the game wide open with a 14-0 surge to begin the third quarter.

The offensive game of the Bulldogs was surgical at times. Mackenzie Toomey enjoyed one of her better games of the season in tallying 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting from the floor (2-for-2 from the foul line). She also added four assists and three steals. She served as a major reason why the Flames turned it over 21 times. Toomey was joined in double figures by Sadie Powell (14), Taysha Rushton (14) and Kendal Brigham (10). Eleven Concordia players registered in the scoring column.

Said Olson, “I thought Toomey played a phenomenal game – all facets of the game. She had great numbers and she was everywhere defensively. She just made all the right plays today. Taysha again shot really well, especially early on. I felt like the whole team moved the ball well and allowed us to get open shots.”

Plenty of others contributed for the Bulldogs, including seven players who scored between five and nine points: Abby Heemstra (nine), Abby Krieser (eight), Kristin Vieselmeyer (seven), Destiny Shepherd (six), Taylor Farrell (five), Hailey Kleinschmit (five) and Reece Snodgrass (five). Vieselmeyer paced the team in rebounding with six boards. In addition, eight Concordia players knocked down at least one 3-point field goal as part of a 15-for-28 team performance from long distance. The triples helped open up a lead that grew as large as 30 points.

CSM came out of the gates energized on its senior day. The Flames got 19 points from Bailey White and 18 from Madelyn Turner on Saturday. They shot 44.1 percent (26-for-59) while attempting to keep up with the red hot Bulldogs. Ultimately, CSM saw its series losing streak extend to 22 games versus Concordia. Both Flames’ GPAC wins this season have come over Hastings.

Next week will mark the final one of the regular season. The Bulldogs will welcome No. 23 Briar Cliff (19-7, 15-5 GPAC) to Friedrich Arena on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. CT tipoff. At halftime of the men’s game that night, Concordia will honor senior Taylor Farrell, the lone fourth-year player on the roster. Back on Nov. 12, the Bulldogs dropped their GPAC opener at Briar Cliff, 87-76.