Third-ranked Bulldogs suffocate Defenders
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – A 19-5 second half run allowed the third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team to build a comfortable lead that propelled the Bulldogs to an 80-58 win at Dordt on Saturday afternoon. Concordia used a familiar script that included another turnover feast to remain unbeaten away from home (5-0).
Ninth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad moved to 10-1 overall and 5-1 in conference play.
“We did some really nice things with our press, getting them out of what they wanted to do and forcing some tough shots,” Olson said. “We were able to create some turnovers that allowed us to get some easy baskets that we needed, because we didn’t shoot well. It was a bit of a struggle offensively.”
Despite shooting 35.8 percent, the Bulldogs led virtually the entire game on the strength of their defensive tenacity (33 Dordt turnovers) and in part due to sophomore Alayna Daberkow’s work on the boards (nine rebounds). After leading 39-34 at the half, Concordia surged with an 11-0 run out of the break before the Defenders (6-6, 0-5 GPAC) answered with a 10-0 spurt of their own.
Concordia responded by tightening back up defensively and by getting key 3-point daggers from Mary Janovich and Kelsey Hizer to pull away late. Janovich teamed with the likes of seniors Bailey Morris, Jericca Pearson and Tracy Peitz to suffocate the Defenders. Janovich continues to draw praise for her defensive prowess.
“Mary’s doing a great job picking her moments to be aggressive,” Olson said. “We want her to be aggressive. She’s hitting timely shots and I’m just so impressed with her defensively. She puts incredible pressure on the ball without fouling.”
Olson also liked the work he got off the bench from Pearson (six points and seven rebounds) and Morris’ contributions despite an off shooting afternoon. Morris chimed in with eight assists, six steals and four rebounds in addition to her 15 points. Janovich topped the Bulldogs with 16 points.
Peitz scored Concordia’s first six points of the game before sitting out much of the first half with more foul trouble. She still managed to rack up 15 points (7-for-10 shooting) and five steals in 13 minutes of action.
Sophomore Becky Mueller added 14 points. Nine different Bulldogs registered in the scoring column and a total of 13 different players saw action for Olson’s squad.
A 5-for-31 (.161) shooting performance from beyond the arc prevented the Bulldogs from distancing themselves even further from Dordt. Concordia entered the contest with a .291 season percentage from the 3-point line.
“We got great looks. They just didn’t go down,” Olson said.
The Defenders, who remain winless in conference play, got 17 points from Abby Chapman (5-for-15 from the field). Dordt was limited to 30.2 percent shooting (16-for-53). Concordia also held the Defenders to just 18 points in the paint.
Both teams spent plenty of time at the free throw line, where Concordia went 17-for-28 (.607) and Dordt went 19-for-30 (.633).
Three of the Bulldogs’ five GPAC wins have come away from home. Concordia also owns conference road wins over Mount Marty (63-59) and then No. 5 Hastings (68-65).
The Bulldogs continue a stretch of three-straight road games on Wednesday (Dec. 10) when they make the short drive to Lincoln to take on Nebraska Wesleyan (1-6, 0-3 GPAC). Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. Concordia has won 14-consecutive meetings with the Prairie Wolves.