Rushton and company push win frenzy to a dozen

By Chase Benton on Feb. 3, 2024 in Women's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – With the standoff versus the No. 1 team in the country looming, Concordia hosted Northwestern on Saturday (Feb. 3) afternoon. After the Red Raiders cut the Bulldog lead to seven and forced a Head Coach Olson timeout, the home team answered the bell with a 14-2 run. The three steal and five basket scoring drive sealed the 20-point (75-55) triumph. As the clock hit zero, Concordia collected a dozen consecutive wins, not seeing defeat since Dec. 9. Taysha Rushton tied her third best performance (29) and moved to the No. 8 spot over Lynda Beck (1988-92) in career points scored.  

CUNE is 19-2 overall and 13-2 in the GPAC, having returned the favor by revenging its two losses on the season. Coach Olson commented on team play after the timeout and the game plan to attack Northwestern defensively.

“That was awesome. We were kind of out of sorts at times offensively, and not always playing to our capability. Out of that timeout, we stepped up, hit a couple shots and got a steal or two in defensive transition. We played really well from that point on and it was great to see. They were in a tough spot, playing without their point guard. Without her, they have some young kids and I felt like we could pressure them a little bit. I thought we did a good job of putting them in bad situations.”

Up seven, with 7:30 remaining on the clock, Sadie Powell and Megan Belt bottomed treys, as Belt had five points, a steal, rebound and assist in the game separating drive. Rushton and Kendal Brigham capped the frenzy, while giving a 64-45 margin over the Defenders. Powell added seven rebounds off the glass and Belt topped out at 8 points in the contest.

The Bulldogs were able to build their double digit separation to 22, thanks to the selfish defense, translating steals to buckets in a 31-5 point advantage off turnovers. Paced by Abby Krieser (three steals) and Powell (three steals), Concordia caused 23 turnovers and 16 steals while being fourth (14.1 spg) in the NAIA in takeaways.

The blue and white had a 14 point advantage going into the locker rooms after Rushton’s 17-point first half showing. The Midland, Texas, native hit her first shot from beyond the arc and attacked on offense, seemingly from the first whistle.

Rushton commented on how she had the confidence to garner 29 points (10-of-15 FG) and the team focusing on one opponent at a time. “My teammates passing me the ball, I don’t know. I work really hard in the gym every day and I play Coach Olson in one-on-one. I take the win over him a lot. Beating Olson all the time gives me confidence. Our team takes every game seriously, no matter who it is. We prepare. We scout and we always focus on the next game.”

With 38 percent (25-66 FG) team shooting, the Bulldogs turned the dial to 11 making 53 percent ((9-17) in the last frame. Brigham garnered another double-digit (10) performance, with Abby Heemstra following with six.

The Red Raiders shot 37 percent (19-52 FG) from the field and 29 percent (4-14) in 3-pointers. NWC was led by Molly Schany (15) and Akaysa Duitscher (13).

This sets the stage for an all out battle between No. 6 Concordia (19-2, 13-2 GPAC) and No. 1 Dordt (20-1, 15-0 GPAC) on Monday (Feb. 5). Tip off is set for 6 p.m. CT inside Friedrich Arena. The game was rescheduled from an earlier date because of inclement weather. The Bulldogs haven’t bested the Defenders since Feb. 3, 2021.