Women's basketball welcomes perennial GPAC heavyweight Northwestern on Saturday

By admin on Jan. 8, 2015 in Women's Basketball

Women’s basketball welcomes perennial GPAC heavyweight Northwestern on Saturday

SEWARD, Neb. – An impressive run of dominance continued on Wednesday night when the third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team forced 35 turnovers to pull away from Midland for a 79-59 win. The Bulldogs (17-1, 10-1 GPAC) carry a 12-game winning streak into Saturday’s tilt with Northwestern (10-6, 4-4 GPAC). Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. from Walz Arena, a venue in which Concordia has triumphed three of the last four times the Red Raiders have visited.

A live webcast of the contest will be available via the Concordia Sports Network.

Gone streaking
Concordia’s current 12-game winning streak is the third longest during head coach Drew Olson’s nine-year tenure. Olson’s 2011-12 team, which finished 34-3 and won GPAC regular-season and tournament titles, won 21-consecutive games before falling to College of the Ozarks (Mo.) in the national semifinals. The 2012-13 Bulldogs began the season 15-0 before dropping a double overtime decision at Dordt. The program record for win streak is held by the 2002-03 Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame team that won its first 33 games of the campaign.

During the Bulldogs’ active 12-game victory streak, they have won each of their last eight games by 20 points or more. Concordia’s average margin of victory over the past 12 games is 29.9 points. The Bulldogs have averaged 88.7 points during the run.

Longest win streaks last four years
2014-15: 12
2013-14: 8
2012-13: 15
2011-12: 21

Beat the best to be the best
Not only has Concordia knocked off six nationally ranked teams (four ranked in the top 10), it has defeated three that are currently ranked atop their respective conferences. As part of a challenging nonconference slate, the Bulldogs have toppled league leaders in Saint Xavier (Ill.) (Chicagoland), Friends (Kan.) (Kansas Collegiate) and Jamestown (N.D.) (North Star). Olson’s squad possesses wins over teams ranked fifth, sixth, seventh, ninth, 17th and 21st.

‘The Bailey Morris Game’
Senior All-American point guard Bailey Morris has reached the 20-point mark 30 times during her distinguished career, but no game stands out more than her program record 45-point performance the last time Concordia hosted Northwestern. Morris went 12-for-26 from the field and 17-for-18 from the free throw line on Feb. 15, 2014, to lift the Bulldogs to an 89-78 victory over the then third-ranked Red Raiders. Morris, the sixth player in program history with more than 1,700 career points, is 90 points shy of Sarah Harrison’s program record of 1,800 career points. Morris, who hails from Clay Center, Neb., is the only player in program history with 1,700+ points, 400+ rebounds, 400+ assists and 325+ steals.

Tenacious D
While Concordia has reached the 100-point mark five times this season, defense has been its calling card. Over the past two games the Bulldogs have swiped 60 steals in powering a combined advantage of 89-25 in points off turnovers. Morris has served as a catalyst with her NAIA Division II-leading theft total of 82. She has combined with reigning GPAC defensive player of the year Tracy Peitz, Kelsey Hizer and Mary Janovich to give the Bulldogs one of the nation’s nastiest pressure defenses. Concordia ranks second nationally in both steals per game (18.4) and turnover margin (plus-12.1). Its opponents have committed an average of 30.4 turnovers per contest.

Accomplished senior class eclipses 100 wins
This year’s senior class, led by Morris and Peitz, has produced 101 wins since arriving in 2011. Over four seasons, the seniors own a record of 101-19 (.842), have won two GPAC regular-season titles and a conference tournament championship, have reached the national tournament in each of their first three seasons and own one national semifinal appearance. Over their careers, the six seniors have combined for 4,152 points, 1,804 rebounds, 879 steals and 873 assists.

Northwestern trending up
One of four teams to share the GPAC regular-season title last season, head coach Chris Yaw’s squad got off to an 0-3 start in conference play but has rebounded of late. The Red Raiders enter the weekend with three-straight victories, including one over NAIA Division I 17th-ranked Montana State University-Northern. In its last five outings, Northwestern’s only loss came at the hands of NCAA Division I Drake University. While Yaw's team no longer possesses standouts like Alli Engebretson, Samantha Kleinsasser and Mackenzie Small, the Red Raiders’ Karen Ettleman leads the conference with 21.9 points per game. As a team, Northwestern ranks fourth in the conference in scoring offense (76.4) and eighth in scoring defense (70.4).