CRETE, Neb. – This looked more like vintage Concordia University Women’s Basketball. Host Doane had no answer for the pressure and athleticism of the 11th-ranked Bulldogs, who also capitalized on a height disparity in the paint. While forcing 31 more turnovers, Concordia took another step forward in a 111-52 fleecing of the Tigers on Wednesday (Nov. 18).
Fifteenth-year Head Coach Drew Olson has engineered victories in 18 of the last 19 meetings with Doane. The Bulldogs have won three in a row overall to move to 3-3 (2-1 GPAC).
“We played with good focus on every possession, we valued the basketball and got good shoots,” Olson said. “Defensively I thought we did a really nice job and keyed in on certain things. We accomplished the goals we had going into the game. We got good shots in the first half, they just weren’t falling. We had great hustle plays and our defense allowed us to keep building the lead.”
The rout began very early in the type of mismatch that has been a familiar sight within the recent series. Concordia led 18-5 right out of the gate and put together a 16-0 run just after halftime. In the paint, Millard South High School product Rylee Pauli put forth her best Philly Lammers impression. Pauli beasted her way to a career high 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the floor. She filled up the stat sheet with seven rebounds and three steals.
The Bulldogs did all of this damage without star guard Taylor Cockerill contributing much in the scoring column – and that’s a good sign for the team. The Bulldogs know they can count on Cockerill, and they’re learning they have some nice pieces around her. The sharp-shooting Taylor Farrell had her back on her way to 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Once the long range shots started falling, things really got out of hand.
Freshman Taysha Rushton buried two quick treys to open the third quarter. That outside shooting became contagious. In separate instances, Mackenzie Toomey and Kendal Brigham both drilled 3-point field goals on back-to-back possessions as the bench went wild. After halftime, Concordia went 11-for-17 from beyond the arc (17-for-39 for the game).
Pauli and Farrell were joined in double figures in the scoring column by teammates Brigham (13), Toomey (13) and Rushton (11). Not only did the Bulldogs own a plus-20 turnover margin, they also held significant advantages in points in the paint, 56-12, and bench scoring, 68-22. Almost everyone who saw action managed to contribute in some fashion. Fourteen Concordia players scored at least one point.
“This was a game that we needed to see the shots go in and have that confidence,” Olson said. “It would have been nice to have one of these games early on because we have a young team, but I still like our schedule and like that we played some tough teams. I think it sharpened us and made us a little bit better. We have a big one to come.”
Prior to Wednesday’s blowout loss, Doane (3-2, 1-1 GPAC) had looked like a much-improved squad. Its three wins have already eclipsed the season total from 2019-20. Haylee Heits (10) and Olivia Nall (12) did most of the offensive damage for the Tigers, who opened up GPAC play by defeating Mount Marty a week earlier.
The win streak will be put to the test on Saturday when eighth-ranked Dordt (2-2, 1-0 GPAC) visits Friedrich Arena for a 2 p.m. CT tipoff. The Bulldogs have won each of the last four series matchups. The Defenders had their scheduled Wednesday game versus Dakota Wesleyan postponed.