Series dominance continues as GPAC win streak pushed to four

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 5, 2023 in Women's Basketball

YANKTON, S.D. – It’s tried and true formula got it back in the win column. In its first outing of 2023, the Concordia University Women’s Basketball forced 28 turnovers and rained in 13 3-point field goals while taking care of business at Mount Marty, 85-62. Eleven Bulldogs registered in the scoring column as part of the win in Yankton, S.D., on Thursday (Jan. 5). The contest was delayed one day due to inclement weather earlier in the week.

Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad dropped a pair of competitive road games just before New Year’s, but it owns an active four-game GPAC win streak. Concordia moved to 6-4 in league play (8-6 overall).

“I thought we had some good moments – didn’t put together a full 40-minute game – but to get a road win by 20-plus is a good thing,” Olson said. “It was nice tonight to get some people more experience. I thought Destiny (Shepherd) got some good minutes. To see Willy (Taylor Farrell) go out there for the first time this year and hit a three was awesome. It was just baby steps for her. Love that everyone got in and played well.”

For Concordia, this week is about regaining the form it showed when it defeated Mount Marty, Hastings and Doane handily in consecutive games during the month of December. In Thursday’s outing, the Bulldogs did not quite duplicate the 21 treys they poured on the Lancers in Seward, but their pressure resulted in 20 steals and their third quarter efforts (22-14 scoring advantage) put the latest meeting out of reach. The result pushed Concordia’s series win streak to 14.

Impressively, five different Bulldogs pilfered at least three steals in the victory, led by four from Abby Krieser. Three apiece were collected by Mackenzie Koepke, Sadie Powell, Taysha Rushton and Mackenzie Toomey. That type of thievery combined with the outside shooting was enough for Concordia to put it on cruise control. The Bulldogs jumped out to an 8-0 lead (with help form a three apiece from Toomey and Rushton) and never looked back.

The offensive game continues to expand for Powell, who equaled a season high with 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the floor. She added four rebounds and three assists to her stat line. She was joined in double figures by Megan Belt (14) and Kendal Brigham (12). The sharpshooting Belt netted 4-of-8 tries from long range. Brigham also contributed six assists. In addition, five other Bulldogs notched at least five points: Koepke (8), Vieselmeyer (8), Krieser (6), Toomey (6) and Rushton (5). Concordia shot 43.1 percent (31-for-72) from the floor.

Also noteworthy, Taylor Farrell saw her first action of the season and knocked down a triple on her only shot attempt. It had been a long road back for Farrell, who has persevered through the adversity dealt her way. The victory also marked Olson’s 250th within GPAC league play over his 17-year tenure.

Mount Marty (4-12, 1-9 GPAC) slipped for the sixth-straight time within GPAC play. The Lancers got a fine performance off the bench from freshman Maria Parsley, who totaled 12 points and nine rebounds while Sidney Thue led her side with 15 points. Mount Marty shot 38.3 percent (23-for-60) from the field. A positive for the Lancers was their 40-34 edge in rebounding.

The Bulldogs will be back at home for the first time since Dec. 15 when they host No. 21 Dakota Wesleyan (10-4, 4-4 GPAC) at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday. This will be the first meeting this season between the two sides. The Tigers won two of the three matchups in 2021-22, including one that took place in the GPAC tournament quarterfinals. The Tigers have been ranked as high as No. 7 in the NAIA poll this season.

Said Olson, “It’s going to be a battle. They’re a great team, great defensively. We’ve got to be sharper and a little better with taking care of basketball.”