Previewing the 22nd annual women's Cattle Classic

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 31, 2021 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – The 22nd annual Cattle Classic is set to tip off on Friday afternoon inside Walz Arena. The basketball classic features a total of four men’s games and four women’s games over the course of the two-day extravaganza. The event, co-sponsored by Concordia and Cattle Bank & Trust, raises money and food for the Blue Valley Community Action's Food Pantry. Pac N Save of Seward will match all canned food donations.

Fans are encouraged to bring canned goods in exchange for admission. Ten canned items will get an adult a weekend pass. Complete admission information for the Cattle Classic can be found HERE. Tickets will not be sold online for this particular event.

Monday (Nov. 1) vs. Bellevue: Before tipping things off at the Cattle Classic, Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad will open the season on Monday versus in-state Bellevue University. The Bruins began their 2021-22 campaign this past week with a 71-59 home win over Peru State College. Elexis Martinez led a group of five double-figure scorers with 12 points. Dave Denly is in his sixth season leading the program at Bellevue, which is coming off a 17-7 overall record last season. This will be the first time Concordia and Bellevue have ever played one another. The Bruins had their first season of competition in 2016-17.

Live webcasts/stats: Concordia Sports Network


Friday, Nov. 5

  • Women: Taylor University (Ind.) vs. Dakota State University (S.D.), 1 p.m.
  • Men: Hastings College vs. Benedictine College (Kan.), 3 p.m.
  • Women: Concordia vs. Sterling College (Kan.), 6 p.m.
  • Men: Concordia vs. Waldorf University (Iowa), 8 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 6

  • Women: Taylor University (Ind.) vs. Sterling College (Kan.), 10 a.m.
  • Men: Hastings College vs. Waldorf University (Iowa), 12 p.m.
  • Women: Concordia vs. Dakota State University (S.D.), 2 p.m.
  • Men: Concordia vs. Benedictine College (Kan.), 4 p.m.

The Women’s Field

All four teams in the field are ranked in the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll:

·        No. 9 Concordia

·        No. 13 Dakota State

·        No. 18 Sterling

·        No. 25 Taylor

Concordia University
Head Coach:
Drew Olson, 16th season
2021-22 Record: 0-0
2020-21 Record: 22-9
Conference: Great Plains Athletic Conference
Location: Seward, Nebraska
Top Player: Taysha Rushton becomes the go-to scorer this season with Taylor Cockerill having graduated. Rushton earned First Team All-GPAC accolades as a freshman in 2020-21 while averaging 14.4 points per game and shooting 35.9 percent from 3-point range (73-for-213). Rushton has the ability to be the next in a long line of All-Americans who have paraded through the program.
Overview: Concordia appeared at No. 2 in the GPAC and No. 9 in the NAIA in the preseason polls released over the past week-and-a-half. The Bulldogs must replace Cockerill, but they return four starters and have a talented young backcourt led by Rushton. Mackenzie Koepke and Rylee Pauli are veterans who will be leaned upon while freshman Abby Heemstra appears ready to make an immediate impact in the frontcourt. Like any other year, Concordia expects to contend for the GPAC title and make a run at the national tournament.

Dakota State University
Head Coach:
David Moe, 5th season
2021-22 Record: 3-1
2020-21 Record: 27-4 (advanced to national quarterfinals)
Conference: North Star Athletic Association
Location: Madison, South Dakota
Top Player: 5-foot-10 Jessi Giles is in her fourth season in the program and has been a catalyst behind the rise of the Trojans. Giles stayed in her hometown of Madison, S.D., to play at Dakota State, where she has piled up more than 1,400 career points. She’s averaging 22.5 points per game so far this season after being named a 2020-21 NAIA First Team All-American.
Overview: Dakota State appeared at No. 13 in the NAIA preseason poll after advancing to the national quarterfinals last season. The 27 wins recorded in 2020-21 by the Trojans represented a program record for a single season. With Giles leading the way, Dakota State is the favorite again in the North Star Athletic Association. Entering the week, the Trojans’ one loss this season came at the hands of No. 19 Clarke University (Iowa). For the second year in a row, former Bulldog Elsie Aslesen will go against Concordia at the Cattle Classic.

Sterling College
Head Coach:
K.C. Bassett, 8th season
2021-22 Record: 0-0
2020-21 Record: 30-1 (advanced to national round of 16)
Conference: Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference
Location: Sterling, Kansas
Top Player: Honorable Mention All-American point guard Bailey Bangert will be leaned upon as the leader of the Warriors. Bangert averaged 13.6 points and 3.68 assists per game last season. The native of Kingman, Kan., enters this season having racked up 1,246 career points.
Overview: K.C. Bassett was named the 2021 United States Marin Corps/WBCA NAIA Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year after guiding Sterling to an undefeated regular season (22-0 in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play). The Warriors went 30-0 before falling at the hands of Dakota State in the NAIA national round of 16. Sterling graduated Third Team All-American Kylah Comley from last season’s team but is currently ranked 18th in the NAIA. In the KCAC preseason coaches’ poll, the Warriors were picked second behind Tabor College (Kan.).

Taylor University
Head Coach:
Jody Martinez, 5th season
2021-22 Record: 1-2
2020-21 Record: 19-7
Conference: Crossroads League
Location: Upland, Indiana
Top Player: Senior guard Lauren James garnered NAIA Third Team All-America honors last season while filling the stat sheet with averages of 15.6 points, 4.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. She also is a career 43.9 percent shooter from 3-point range. James has averaged 11.3 points through this season’s first three games.
Overview: Taylor was pegged third in the preseason within the rugged Crossroads League, which includes perennial powers in Marian University (Ind.) and Indiana Wesleyan University. A veteran coach on the NAIA scene, Jody Martinez has accumulated more than 500 career wins. So far this season, the Trojans are 1-2 with a win over Madonna University (Mich.) and losses to No. 20 Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) and Trinity Christian College (Ill.). The Cattle Classic will be a homecoming for Seward native Gretchen Moll, a Lincoln Lutheran High School alum.