SEWARD, Neb. – A run of six-straight road games continues this week in what will be the final pre-Christmas action for the 11th-ranked Concordia University Women’s Basketball team. The Bulldogs are gearing up for trips to Midland on Tuesday and to Jamestown on Friday. Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad is coming off an 86-67 loss at No. 24 Morningside over the weekend. Back-to-back defeats in Sioux City, Iowa, (Dec. 5/12) put an end to a six-game win streak.
(11) Concordia (6-5, 5-3) at Jamestown (5-3, 3-3)
Friday, Dec. 18 | 6 p.m.
Newman Arena | Jamestown, N.D.
Webcast: Jamestown Stretch Portal
Live Stats: Dakstats
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentator: Parker Cyza
*2020-21 NAIA national rank in parentheses
-NOTE: 169 of 235 NAIA women’s basketball programs have played at least one game this season.
Scoring Offense: 79.3 (36th)
Scoring Defense: 70.0 (T-99th)
FG% Offense: .385 (T-108th)
FG% Defense: .395 (T-91st)
3-pt FG% Offense: .306 (T-79th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .333 (T-129th)
Rebound Margin: -1.82 (107th)
Turnover Margin: +7.4 (21st)
Scoring Offense: 77.3 (42nd)
Scoring Defense: 68.1 (86th)
FG% Offense: .392 (T-99th)
FG% Defense: .394 (T-89th)
3-pt FG% Offense: .333 (T-44th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .264 (32nd)
Rebound Margin: +3.3 (70th)
Turnover Margin: +0.8 (87th)
Scoring Offense: 73.3 (64th)
Scoring Defense: 66.1 (75th)
FG% Offense: .427 (T-46th)
FG% Defense: .388 (T-79th)
3-pt FG% Offense: .330 (46th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .301 (T-79th)
Rebound Margin: +0.5 (85th)
Turnover Margin: +2.5 (T-61st)
Protocols for fans
At Midland: Visiting fans will not be allowed to attend the game at Midland. The athletic department at Midland put this policy into effect beginning on Nov. 30.
At Jamestown: Capacity inside Jamestown’s arena will be limited to 600 fans. Visiting fans can assure themselves of tickets by purchasing them online: https://www.jimmiepride.com/tickets.
--NOTE: All GPAC events require fans to wear face coverings. To review specific COVID-19 protocols for the GPAC and its member institutions, visit: http://www.gpacsports.com/gpac-covid19-fan-protocols.
Due to the postponement of a home game scheduled for Dec. 9 against Mount Marty (rescheduled for Dec. 30), the Bulldogs played just once last week. Concordia entered the Dec. 12 matchup at Morningside having won eight of the previous nine meetings in the series. This time around, the Mustangs started out on fire behind the likes of Sophia Peppers and Sierra Mitchell and built a 20-point first half lead on the way to an 86-67 victory. Concordia had won four-straight trips to the Rosen-Verdoorn Sports Center in Sioux City. Sophomore Kayla Luebbe put up 20 points for the Bulldogs, but it wasn’t enough to overcome negative margins in turnovers (-7) and rebounding (-9).
Luebbe breaks out
Kayla Luebbe’s 20 points at Morningside came as a surprise, considering she had previously totaled eight points in five career games at the varsity level. The 6-foot-1 Seward High School product took advantage of her size advantage in the post and went a perfect 10-for-10 from the floor. Luebbe earned a spot on the varsity roster this season after mostly playing at the junior varsity level her freshman year. As a Bluejay, Luebbe helped Seward High to three state playoff appearances.
Cockerill/Rushton form dynamic duo
At the top of the scouting report for all Concordia opponents are guards Taylor Cockerill and Taysha Rushton. They pace the Bulldogs with respective scoring averages of 15.4 and 13.5. When factoring in GPAC games only, Rushton has actually led Concordia in scoring at 14.4 points per game. The native of Lubbock, Texas, is also shooting 41.3 percent (19-for-46) from 3-point range versus conference opponents. Cockerill contributes in all areas and is the team leader in rebounding (7.1 per game). A Waverly High School product, Cockerill ranks 23rd on the program’s all-time scoring list (1,087 points).
Out of the gates
Concordia will likely be focused on getting out of the gates stronger after having to play catch up in its two road trips to Sioux City. At the close of the first quarters, the Bulldogs trailed Briar Cliff, 17-9, and Morningside, 29-16. Overall this season, Concordia has managed to outscore its opponents in every quarter – 200-179 in the first, 207-185 in the second, 230-200 in the third and 235-206 in the fourth. As the numbers show, the Bulldogs have increased their scoring totals gradually (on average) throughout the game.
Despite back-to-back losses, Concordia remains near the top of the league standings. The Bulldogs (5-3 GPAC) currently reside behind Morningside (5-1), Briar Cliff (6-2) and Midland (6-2). In a 22-game conference regular season, most of the race is yet to be finished. The rest of the league is gunning to knock Concordia off its perch after winning four-straight GPAC regular season and postseason titles. Morningside is the most recent team other than the Bulldogs to claim a GPAC title (swept 2015-16 conference championships). A new set of GPAC rankings are scheduled to be released by the NAIA on Monday (Dec. 14) at https://www.naia.org/sports/wbkb/2020-21/Releases/Ratings.
Speaking of rankings, Concordia has been ranked in 96-straight NAIA national poll releases. That stretch dates back to December 2010. During that run, the Bulldogs have garnered the No. 1 national ranking a total of 16 times. A new NAIA national coaches’ poll is scheduled to be unveiled on Wednesday (Dec. 16).
After placing eighth in the GPAC last season, Midland has made a jump this season behind the likes of Lexi Haase and Makenna Sullivan. Haase enjoyed a big night (24 points and 10 rebounds) in spurring the Warriors’ 91-79 win at Concordia on Nov. 10. As a team, Midland went 14-for-26 from 3-point range. It marked just the second time that Drew Olson has lost to the Warriors during his coaching tenure. Head Coach Shawn Gilbert’s squad earned a significant 63-54 home win over Briar Cliff last week to keep pace near the top of the GPAC standings.
Jamestown has played in plenty of tight games having just come off a 64-61 home win over Dakota Wesleyan this past weekend. The Jimmies have another big test coming on Wednesday against Briar Cliff. Concordia alum and Jimmie Head Coach Thad Sankey’s squad has improved on the offensive end this season with the help of Hannah DeMars (16.6) and Kia Tower (15.5). Freshman Audrey Rodakowski (11.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game) has been a nice addition in the post. Jamestown has not yet beaten the Bulldogs since joining the GPAC prior to the start of the 2018-19 season.
After this week wraps up, Concordia will have a break of nearly two weeks between games. The Bulldogs are scheduled to be at home for the first and only time in the month of December when Mount Marty visits Friedrich Arena for a 7 p.m. tipoff on Dec. 30. The home schedule will ramp up with four home dates in January and another three in February.
Concordia (6-5, 5-3)
G – Taylor Cockerill, Jr. (15.4)
G – Averie Lambrecht, So. (1.9)
G – Taysha Rushton, Fr. (13.5)
F – Rylee Pauli, Jr. (7.5)
F – Faith Troshynski, Sr. (4.2)
Midland (9-2, 6-2)
G – Lexis Haase, Jr. (14.6)
G – Lexi Kraft, So. (6.9)
G/F – Makenna Sullivan, Sr. (13.9)
G – Peyton Wingert, Jr. (11.2)
F – Katy Gathje, Sr. (8.6)
Jamestown (5-3, 3-3)
G – Emma Stoehr, Sr. (6.3)
G – Kia Tower, So. (15.5)
F – Hannah DeMars, So. (16.6)
F – Noelle Josephson, Jr. (11.0)
C – Audrey Rodakowski, Fr. (11.6)