Win streak halted at the Corn Palace

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 12, 2017 in Women's Basketball

MITCHELL, S.D. – The second longest win streak in program history finally came to an end on Sunday afternoon. Playing on the road for the second time in as many days, the GPAC champion Concordia University women’s basketball team struggled mightily offensively and fell at No. 12 Dakota Wesleyan, 75-53, inside the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D.

Eleventh-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad had won 26-straight games before being dealt a defeat by the Tigers. The Bulldogs are now 26-2 overall and 17-1 in conference play.

“That was a tough game for us. We just did not play good basketball,” Olson said. “I felt like we were really impatient offensively. We tried to do a little bit too much at times. Dakota Wesleyan did a great job defending. They’re big and long and switched a lot of things. We had to move the ball more. I also felt like we lost our composure a little bit.

“By the time we did settle in, it was an uphill battle. Dakota Wesleyan just outplayed us overall.”

Concordia has routinely shook off slow starts in recent outings, but it played catch up the entire afternoon on Sunday after the Tigers raced out to a 12-0 lead. Complicating matters for the Bulldogs was their shooting woes. They went just 15-for-60 from the floor and 2-for-22 from 3-point range.

Dakota Wesleyan did a superb job limiting Concordia’s star players. Quinn Wragge went 2-for-11 from the floor. Philly Lammers was 3-for-10. Mary Janovich made 1-of-6 shots. The Bulldogs were unable to get much of a transition game going either and had a 21-13 disadvantage in points off turnovers.

Though Janovich made only one shot from the field, she helped Concordia climb back into the game by spurring a 14-2 run that she capped with a 3-point field goal with 9:39 left in the game. At that point, the Bulldogs sprung to life and trailed 54-45 after having whittled down what had been a 22-point deficit. But Concordia went cold again and Amber Bray delivered a 3-point dagger to make it 62-47 with 5:31 remaining.

In front of a spirited Corn Palace crowd, Dakota Wesleyan (23-4, 14-4 GPAC) pulled away down the stretch. The Tigers shot 50 percent (11-for-22) from the field and 90 percent (9-for-10) from the free throw line over the game’s final two periods while snuffing out the Bulldog comeback bid. Sarah Carr paced Dakota Wesleyan with 14 points off the bench. Bray (12) and Rylie Osthus (11 points, eight assists) joined Carr in double figures in scoring.

Janovich led Concordia with 12 points. She went 9-for-10 from the foul line. Shelby Quinn added 12 points and five rebounds. Wragge registered six points and 10 rebounds.

Sunday’s contest was a makeup for a game that had originally been scheduled for Jan. 15. The postponement came because of an ice storm that struck Nebraska. Dakota Wesleyan had the advantage of not having to play on Saturday.

“This was a good trip despite this game,” Olson said. “It was great to have that experience for our kids. We know that we’re a great team. We earned that GPAC championship. We earned an automatic bid to the national tournament. I also felt like this was good team bonding to stay overnight in a hotel. To get that tournament feel of back-to-back games is beneficial.”

Another difficult road challenge awaits on Wednesday when the Bulldogs will venture to No. 10 Hastings (21-7, 13-5 GPAC) for a 6 p.m. CT tipoff. Concordia defeated the Broncos, 68-47, inside Walz Arena on Jan. 25.