SEWARD, Neb. – Riding a 10-game winning streak, the third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Dordt (8-8, 0-7 GPAC) at 1 p.m. The Defenders have won two-consecutive nonconference contests but are seeking their first GPAC victory. The Bulldogs, 7-1 at home this season, defeated Dordt, 80-58, in a matchup in Sioux Center, Iowa, on Dec. 6. Head coach Drew Olson’s squad has won each of the last five meetings with the Defenders.
A live webcast of the contest will be available via the Concordia Sports Network.
Not even close
Included in Concordia’s impressive 15-1 start has been a run of blowout victories over the past six games. During that stretch, the Bulldogs have won contests by margins of 22, 41, 67, 31, 30 and 27 points while averaging 96.8 points per game. The scoring surge has pushed Concordia to No. 5 nationally in both scoring margin (23.3) and points per outing (85.1). The Bulldogs lead the GPAC in scoring and are averaging nearly six points more per game than runner up Morningside (79.2). On the strength of its 10-game winning streak, Concordia is one of eight teams in NAIA Division II with either one or no losses.
NAIA Division II teams with one or no losses
Morningside – 17-0
Davenport (Mich.) – 13-0
Concordia – 15-1
Marian (Ind.) – 14-1
Southern Oregon – 12-1
Tennessee Wesleyan – 12-1
Point Park (Pa.) – 11-1
Webber International (Fla.) – 9-1
Morris continues climb up all-time lists
Senior point guard Bailey Morris continues to state her case as one of the top players in the history of Concordia women’s basketball. By notching her 29th career game of 20 or more points in Tuesday’s 94-67 win over No. 9 Friends University, Morris leapfrogged former teammate and current assistant coach Kristen Conahan for sixth place on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,675 career points. The native of Clay Center, Neb., also ranks fourth in steals (328) and sixth in assists (394). Her five steals moved her above Concordia Athletics Hall of Famer Kari Saving on the all-time thefts chart.
This season Morris ranks first among all NAIA Division II players with 70 steals for an average of 4.38 per game. She also checks in at No. 14 in assists per game (4.9) and 32nd in scoring (17.9).
A statistically dominant team across the board, Concordia tops the GPAC in scoring, scoring margin, field goal percentage defense (.360), steals per game (17.0) and turnover margin (10.6). An ultra-aggressive team, the Bulldogs have also been whistled for more fouls than any other GPAC team (average of 21.4 fouls per game). Four Bulldogs rank in the top 16 of the conference in steals – Morris (1st, 4.38), Tracy Peitz (7th, 2.38), Mary Janovich (12th, 1.93) and Kelsey Hizer (16th, 1.69).
Senior class zeroes in on 100 wins
Very few classes in any sport in the history of Concordia athletics can claim the level of success authored by the 2014-15 Bulldog women’s basketball seniors. With a four-year record of 99-19, the current seniors, led by Morris and Peitz, are just one win away from becoming only the second class in program history to reach the century mark. Seniors Sarah Harrison and Kari Saving (top two scorers in school history) led a class that went a combined 123-21 (.854) and made two national tournament semifinal appearances from 2001-05. The current group of six seniors has won two GPAC regular-season titles, a GPAC tournament title and has advanced as far as the semifinals of the national tournament (2012).
Concordia padded its already sterling resume earlier this week with the victory over No. 9 Friends University. The Bulldogs have won six of seven contests against top 25 foes, capturing victories over No. 5 Hastings (68-65), No. 6 Saint Xavier (81-64), No. 7 Jamestown (90-72), No. 9 Friends (94-67), No. 17 Mayville State (89-79) and No. 21 Doane (62-54). In sum, Concordia’s six victories over top 25 teams have come by an average margin of 13.8 points. Three-straight wins over top 20 opponents to begin the season allowed Concordia to move from No. 9 in the preseason poll to No. 3, where it has remained in back-to-back rankings. Olson’s program has an active streak of 42-conseuctive top 25 rankings.
Dordt wins back-to-back
Seventh-year head coach Craig Stiemsma’s Defenders enter Saturday’s game coming off nonconference wins over Martin Luther College (77-70) and Buena Vista University (73-67). Prior to the back-to-back wins, Dordt had struggled with four-straight losses – all by margins of 22 points or greater. The Defenders currently hold a nine-game GPAC losing streak that dates back to the end of last season. Junior guard Abby Chapman paces the team in scoring (14.9), assists (1.94) and steals (1.44). Junior center Mycah Hulst ranks second among GPAC players with an average of 10.0 rebounds per game. As a team, Dordt ranks 10th in the GPAC in scoring offense (69.8) and ninth in scoring defense (71.1).