SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University Women’s Basketball team will look to bounce back from last week’s loss at Briar Cliff with a trip to Sioux City to take on 24th-ranked Morningside on Saturday (Dec. 12). The top-25 matchup is set to tip-off at 2 p.m. Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad owns an overall record of 6-4 and are 5-2 in GPAC play.
(11) Concordia (6-4, 5-2) at (24) Morningside (6-2, 4-1)
Saturday, Dec. 12 | 2 p.m.
Rosen Verdoorn Sports City | Sioux City, Iowa
Webcast: Morningside Live
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentator: Evan Jones
*2020-21 NAIA national rank in parentheses
-NOTE: 158 of 235 NAIA women’s basketball programs have played at least one game this season.
Scoring Offense: 80.5 (30th)
Scoring Defense: 68.4 (86th)
FG% Offense: .378 (T-115th)
FG% Defense: .383 (T-68th)
3-pt FG% Offense: .305 (81st)
3-pt FG% Defense: .333 (T-124th)
Rebound Margin: -1.10 (123rd)
Turnover Margin: +8.80 (11th)
Scoring Offense: 80.13 (33rd)
Scoring Defense: 66.88 (T-73rd)
FG% Offense: .444 (T-29th)
FG% Defense: .413 (T-114th)
3-pt FG% Offense: .391 (15th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .300 (78th)
Rebound Margin: -1.0 (122nd)
Turnover Margin: +5.0 (T-36th)
Protocols for fans
At Morningside: Visiting teams will be allotted 100 tickets per contest. Spectators must wear masks at all times. For more information please visit: https://www.msidemustangs.com/covid19-fan-protocols
Last time out
Concordia was defeated soundly last time out by Briar Cliff 69-59. The Concordia offense struggled mightily as the Bulldogs shot a season-low 23.1 percent (18-for-78) from the floor and 19 percent (8-for-42) from behind the arch. One bright spot for Concordia was its defense as the bulldogs forced 21 turnovers and held Briar Cliff to 36.2 percent shooting (17-for-47). Taylor Cockerill (22 points) and Taysha Rushton (14 points) both finished with double figures.
Cockerill joins 1,000-point club
Taylor Cockerill became the 30th member of the program’s 1,000-point club when she reached that mark in the second quarter of the Bulldogs win over Northwestern on Nov.14. Cockerill is also the 14th different player during Drew Olson’s tenure to score 1,000 or more points. The Waverly High School native may be one of the top pure scorers in all of the NAIA. She currently ranks 12th nationally in total scoring with 162 points on the season. She’s also averaging 7.6 rebounds per game.
Becoming the norm
Since halftime of the loss to Midland, Concordia has played at a higher level throughout the majority of the past seven games. After shuffling the starting lineups early in the season head coach Drew Olson has seemed to find his starting five. Over the past five games, the starting lineup has featured guards Taylor Cockerill, Averie Lambrecht and Taysha Rushton and forwards Rylee Pauli and Faith Troshynski. Not surprisingly, Cockerill has played the most minutes (28.8 per game). Rushton (25.9) and Pauli (23.1) have also been leaned upon heavily. Cockerill is the team’s second-leading scorer at 16.2 points per game while Rushton follows right behind with 13.7 points per contest.
The backcourt duo of Cockerill and Rushton currently rank in the Top-20 in numerous national statistical categories. Rushton currently ranks 16th nationally in total assists with 35 this season. The Lubbock, Texas, product’s ten assists in Concordia’s win over Northwestern back on Nov. 14, is the seventh-highest single-game mark nationally this season. In addition to being ranked 12th in total scoring Cockerill’s 33-point outburst in the Bulldogs home-opening loss to Dakota State on Nov. 5, is the ninth highest scoring mark in a single game nationally.
Getting the best of the best
It is no secret to why Concordia has been one of the most respected programs across all divisions of collegiate basketball in recent years. Concordia has an overall record of 31-6 against ranked opponents over the course of the last three seasons. So far in 2020, the Bulldogs are one and one against ranked opponents with a 73-62 win over ninth-ranked Dordt and a 73-66 loss to No. 20 Carroll College.
Off to a 6-2 start, Morningside saw its five-game win streak come to a halt in its last outing as the Mustangs fell to Briar Cliff 80-78. On paper, Morningside is very similar to Concordia as they both have high-scoring offenses that rank in the top-40 nationally. However, Morningside ranks 29th in field goal percentage as the Mustangs are shooting an impressive 44.4 percent from the field. Concordia will have to lock down on the Mustangs leading scorer Sierra Mitchell who is leading the GPAC in scoring with 18.38 points per game. Sophia Peppers is also a major scoring threat as her 17.5 points per game rank third in the conference. Morningside was picked third in the 2020 GPAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Before breaking for Christmas, the Bulldogs will travel to Midland on Tuesday (Dec. 15) before heading north to visit Jamestown on Friday (Dec. 18). Both contests will tip-off at 6 p.m. CT.