Olson looks to put Dawgs back on track in Mount Marty and Briar Cliff showdowns

By Chase Benton on Dec. 4, 2023 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia will become the road Dawgs for the rest of December, facing five straight opponents outside of Friedrich Arena. They lead off with Mount Marty this Wednesday (Dec. 6), then travel to Briar Cliff on Saturday (Dec. 9). The Bulldogs took a little over an hour trip to trounce Midland (100-64) in their second consecutive triple digit win last Wednesday (Nov. 29). After, Concordia came home to face Jamestown, but fell short in the second half comeback (71-61) with a disappointing first half showing.

This Week

Wednesday, Dec. 6 at Mount Marty (3-6, 1-4 GPAC), 6 p.m.
--Max Country | Live Webcast | Live Stats | Location: Cimpl Arena (Yankton, S.D.)

Saturday, Dec. 9 at Briar Cliff (3-3, 1-2 GPAC), 2 p.m.
--Max Country | Live Webcast | Live Stats | Location: Newman Flanagan Center (Sioux City, Iowa)

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By the numbers

·        The Bulldog offense was led by 15 3-point strikes in the route against Midland on Nov. 29. The 19 total turnovers led to transition scoring for the visitors of Wikert Event Center. Taysha Rushton paced the team with 20 game high points on eight buckets and 4-of-8 from three-point land. Kristin Vieselmeyer (13) and Abby Heemstra (12) also entered double digits, as Vieselmeyer and Sammy Leu collected four assists apiece. Vieselmeyer led the game in rebounds with seven. CUNE shot 49.3 percent (37-75) from the field and 35.7 percent (15-42) from beyond the arc. Also contributing to the 100 point win, were Kendal Brigham (9), Sammy Leu (9) and Sadie Powell (8).

·        After shooting 28.1 percent (9-32) from the field, Concordia found itself down 14 to Jamestown at the halftime break. The Bulldogs bit their way back into the game, eventually tying the Jimmies with a little over six minutes left in the game. The visitors outscored Head Coach Drew Olson and company 16-6 in the final minutes, with the home team tiring out from the second half comeback. Three different players in the Bulldog Blue ended with 11 points, including Rushton, Abby Krieser and Vieselmeyer. Scoring in double digits for back to back games is Vieselmeyer, as the sophomore Holyoke, Colo. product continues to grow on the offensive side of the floor. Powell collected a double digit performance (10) and Mackenzie Toomey had nine points and 8 rebounds against the Jimmies.

·        Taysha Rushton, with her 15th point at Midland, has now eclipsed 1,500 points in her career as a Bulldog. She has become the 12th player in the program to reach that mark and has a long year still in front of her. Rushton will continue to help the Dawgs win games and consequently move up the all-time leaderboard. With 4:25 in the second quarter, Rushton dropped a three-pointer via Sammy Leu to surpass the mark against a team she has always scored double digits on. She scored a season-high (29) against the Warriors last year and has averaged 21 points a game against them in her career.

·        The Bulldogs first seven opponents have averaged 25.9 turnovers per game (5th in NAIA) and have totaled 181 forced turnovers. One hundred and six of those turnovers have come via steals, which earns the defense 5th in NAIA in that category. Mackenzie Toomey leads the team with 20 (3.4 PG). A Lincoln Southeast High School product, Toomey teams up with the likes of Rushton, Vieselmeyer and Powell, who lead the team in steals. Sadie Powell led the team in their last outing with five against Jamestown.

·        Concordia dropped four places in Massey ratings to No. 7, which matches the current NAIA coaches’ poll ranking. Other GPAC schools ranked in the top 25 of Massey are No.2 Dordt, No.3 Briar Cliff, and No. 10 Dakota Wesleyan. The Great Plains Athletic Conference shows why it is such a respected conference nationally, with deep runs in the NAIA tournament every spring. Dordt starts with leading scorers Bailey Beckman and Karly Gustafson. Mallie McNair (Briar Cliff) and Emma Yost (Dak Wes) are in the top of the conference in scoring for their respective teams.

Concordia Projected Starting Five
G – Mackenzie Toomey, 5-9 (6.7)
G – Taysha Rushton, 5-5 (15.4)
G – Abby Krieser, 5-8 (11.6)
F – Sadie Powell, 6-0 (9.3)
F – Kristin Vieselmeyer, 6-1 (8.1)

Mount Marty

The Lancers come into Wednesday's matchup 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the conference. Their only GPAC win came last Wednesday (Nov. 29) versus the College of Saint Mary (77-52). Mount Marty has two more wins against Barclay College (73-33) and Union College (100-9). Coming off a loss from Briar Cliff (90-58), the Lancers are looking for their second conference win and to break the 14 game losing streak against the Bulldogs. They will lean on leading scorer Jadyn Jensen and senior Kaity Hove to compete hard versus the ravaging defense of Concordia. They will take a majority of their shots from the perimeter, as they average 20.2 attempts per game.

Mount Marty Projected Starting Five
G – Kaela Martinez, 5-8 (10.0)
G – Jadyn Jensen, 5-10 (12.4)
G – Kaity Hove, 5-7 (6.3)
G – Haley Meyer, 5-8 (6.4)
F – Sidney Thue, 6-1 (8.1)

Briar Cliff

With only two undefeated teams left in the conference coming into this week, the Chargers are one of them. They have a 9-0 overall record and boasts a 5-0 unblemished conference record. Their level of competition steps up dramatically this week, facing the other top two teams in the conference in Dordt and Concordia. They have bested Dakota Wesleyan (89-80), Morningside (84-69) and Mount Marty (90-58) in their last three games of this early 2023-24 season. Led by Mallie McNair in points (17.3), this is a veteran starting lineup with two fifth year seniors (Konnor Sudmann, Payton Slaughter) and one traditional senior (Kennedy Benne). Junior Rachel Langel has 11 blocks and averages 8.6 rebounds per game. The Dawgs have lost three straight to the Chargers and will look to win for the first time in Sioux City since the 2019-20 campaign.

Briar Cliff Projected Starting Five
G –Mallie McNair, 5-8 (17.3)
G – Konnor Sudmann, 5-11 (10.4)
G – Kennedy Benne, 5-8 (10.8)
G – Payton Slaughter, 5-6 (11.8)
C –Rachel Langel, 6-0 (8.6)

Next week

Concordia will take a trip to Arizona following this week’s games. It is set to square off against two teams on Monday (Dec. 18) and Tuesday (Dec. 19). The Bulldogs will take on Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Ariz.) and Arizona Christian University for their final matches in December.