2019-20 Women's Basketball Schedule/Results

32-2 overall | 21-1 GPAC (1st) | Season Stats | Roster

*Season ended early due to coronavirus pandemic

Date Opponent Location Time/Result Record
Oct. 22 Creighton University (Exhibition) Omaha, Neb. L, 83-85 (2 OT)  
College of the Ozarks Tournament: Oct. 25-26
Oct. 25 (12) Sterling College (Kan.) Point Lookout, Mo. W, 107-50 1-0
Oct. 26 (2) Southeastern University (Fla.) Point Lookout, Mo. W, 63-62 (OT) 2-0
  20th annual Cattle Classic: Nov. 1-2      
Nov. 1 Simpson University (Calif.) Seward, Neb. W, 123-45 3-0
Nov. 2 (9) University of St. Francis (Ill.) Seward, Neb. W, 107-46 4-0
Nov. 12 *Midland University Seward, Neb. W, 93-70 5-0, 1-0
Nov. 16 *Briar Cliff University Seward, Neb. W, 113-59 6-0, 2-0
Nov. 20 *College of Saint Mary Seward, Neb. W, 127-51 7-0, 3-0
Nov. 23 Metropolitan State University of Denver (Exh.) Denver, Colo. W, 81-65  
Dec. 4 *Doane University Seward, Neb. W, 110-47 8-0, 4-0
Dec. 7 *(13) Dakota Wesleyan University Seward, Neb. W, 100-72 9-0, 5-0
Dec. 11 *(7) Morningside College Sioux City, Iowa W, 88-77 10-0, 6-0
Dec. 14 *Mount Marty College Yankton, S.D. W, 80-50 11-0, 7-0
Southeastern University Classic: Dec. 20-21
Dec. 20 (2) Southeastern University (Fla.) Lakeland, Fla. L, 72-97 11-1
Dec. 21 William Carey University (Miss.) Lakeland, Fla. W, 97-55 12-1
Jan. 2 *(12) Northwestern College Orange City, Iowa W, 97-81 13-1, 8-0
Jan. 4 *(6) Dordt University Seward, Neb. W, 69-55 14-1, 9-0
Jan. 8 *(4) Hastings College Hastings, Neb. L, 59-66 14-2, 9-1
Jan. 11 *University of Jamestown Seward, Neb. W, 105-56 15-2, 10-1
Jan. 15 *College of Saint Mary Omaha, Neb. W, 108-64 16-2, 11-1
Jan. 18 *Briar Cliff University Sioux City, Iowa W, 76-64 17-2, 12-1
Jan. 22 *(7) Morningside College Seward, Neb. W, 85-61 18-2, 13-1
  69th CIT: Jan. 24-25      
Jan. 24 Concordia University, Ann Arbor River Forest, Ill. W, 74-49 19-2
Jan. 25 Concordia University, Wisconsin River Forest, Ill. W, 102-47 20-2
Jan. 29 *(17) Northwestern College Seward, Neb. W, 91-76 21-2, 14-1
Feb. 1 *(12) Dakota Wesleyan University Mitchell, S.D. W, 69-67 22-2, 15-1
Feb. 5 *Doane University Crete, Neb. W, 102-47 23-2, 16-1
Feb. 8 *(9) Dordt University Sioux Center, Iowa W, 74-56 24-2, 17-1
Feb. 12 *(2) Hastings College Seward, Neb. W, 53-46 25-2, 18-1
Feb. 15 *Mount Marty College Seward, Neb. W, 94-51 26-2, 19-1
Feb. 19 *Midland University Fremont, Neb. W, 75-68 27-2, 20-1
Feb. 22 *University of Jamestown Jamestown, N.D. W, 76-66 28-2, 21-1
  GPAC Tournament      
Feb. 26 Midland University (Quarterfinals) Seward, Neb. W, 95-46 29-2
Feb. 29 (12) Dordt College (Semifinals) Seward, Neb. W, 94-79 30-2
March 3 (4) Hastings College (Championship) Seward, Neb. W, 60-49 31-2
  NAIA Division II National Championship      
March 11 Wilberforce University (Ohio) Sioux City, Iowa W, 75-57 32-2
March 13 (15) Kansas Wesleyan University Sioux City, Iowa CANCELED  

2019-20 Roster

No. Roster Pos. Ht. Year Hometown Previous School
3 Averie Lambrecht G 5-8 Fr. Eagle, Neb. Waverly HS
4 Riley Sibbel G 5-9 Sr. O'Neill, Neb. St. Mary's HS
5 Taylor Cockerill G 5-9 Jr. Waverly, Neb. Waverly HS
10 Delani Fahey G 5-10 So. Ord, Neb. Ord HS
11 Claire Cornell G 5-8 So. Elm Creek, Neb. Elm Creek HS
12 MacKenzie Helman G 5-7 Sr. Lincoln, Neb. Pius HS
13 Rebecca Higgins F 5-11 RS-So. Thedford, Neb. Thedford HS
14 Chloe Schumacher F 6-2 So. Lincoln, Neb. Malcolm HS
15 Taylor Farrell G 5-7 Fr. Omaha, Neb. Millard West HS
21 Mackenzie Koepke G 6-1 So. Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln Lutheran HS
25 Rylee Pauli F 5-10 So. Omaha, Neb. Millard South HS
31 Colby Duvel F 5-9 Sr. Max, Neb. Platteview HS
34 Taryn Schuette G 5-10 Sr. Sabetha, Kan. Sabetha HS
35 Elsie Aslesen F 6-1 So. Elk Point, S.D. Elk-Point Jefferson HS
42 Philomena Lammers F 5-11 Sr. Omaha, Neb. Millard West HS
55 Grace Barry G 5-7 Sr. Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln East / U. of Neb-Kearney
  Keri Bauer G 5-8 So. Pleasanton, Neb. Pleasanton HS
  Madi Daly G 5-5 Sr. Mullen, Neb. Mullen HS
  Sidney Enochs F 5-11 So. Overton, Neb. Overton HS
  Ashley Heyen G 5-6 So. Ceresco, Neb. Raymond Central HS
  Emily Jones G 5-6 Jr. Benkelman, Neb. Dundy County-Stratton HS
  Kayla Luebbe F 6-0 Fr. Bee, Neb. Seward HS
  Elle Luehr F 5-9 So. Wood River, Neb. Wood River Rural HS
  Samantha Luehr G 5-7 Jr. Wood River, Neb. Wood River Rural HS
  Jayda Lyon G 5-7 So. Colorado Springs, Colo. Liberty HS
  Gabby Mason G 5-9 So. Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln Lutheran HS
  Courtney Merryweather F 5-11 So. Omaha, Neb. Millard West HS
  Brooklyn Minzel G 5-7 Fr. Malcolm, Neb. Malcolm HS
  Olivia Otte G 5-9 So. York, Neb. Nebraska Evangelical Lutheran
  Faith Troshynski F 5-10 Sr. Manson, Iowa NW Webster HS / Briar Cliff


Drew Olson, Head Coach (14th Year)

Tae'lor Purdy-Korell, Assistant Coach

Taylor Jacobsen, Graduate Assistant Coach

Maggie Goltz, Student Assistant

Sara Sauceda, Manager

Lammers, Schumacher provide lift in national tourney win

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – This time around, Wilberforce University (Ohio) provided more resistance as the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team returned to the site where it captured a national championship one year ago. Eventually the talent and depth of the heavily favored Bulldogs took over. Concordia forced 31 turnovers in a 75-57 victory in the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship first round in Sioux City, Iowa, on Wednesday morning (March 11).

The contest marked the 35th win in 19 all-time national tournament appearances for Concordia (32-2). Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has its eye on another extended stay in Sioux City. Olson will expect sharper play in Friday’s second round.

“We’re glad that we got a win and we move on,” Olson said. “In tournament play you can’t ride an emotional rollercoaster. You just take it one game at a time and you move on from it.”

Just like 2019, the GPAC champs began their national tournament run by taking on Wilberforce in the first round. Concordia did not fire on all cylinders out of the gate, but it managed to get to the foul line and make 11 of its first 12 attempts from the charity stripe. By halftime, the Bulldog pressure had turned a slight early deficit into a 14-point advantage. Concordia then scored the first six points of the third quarter (two on buckets by Grace Barry) and cruised to the finish.

The atmosphere is rarely an energetic one during morning weekday action at the national tournament. At times, Concordia just looked like a team looking ahead to Friday. That didn’t mean it was all bad. Philly Lammers supplied all 14 of her points in the first half in providing a steadying presence. Off the bench, Chloe Schumacher injected some life into her teammates by knocking down three treys in an 11-point performance.

To be sure, the defending champs were never in danger. Reigning national tournament MVP Grace Barry made 7-of-12 shots from the floor and notched 14 points and three steals. Barry and the fellow starters each played fewer than 20 minutes. Twelve Bulldogs registered in the scoring column. Forty-three points were contributed by the bench, including seven from Taryn Schuette, who also grabbed four rebounds.

Wilberforce (20-9) looked like an improved team from 2019. Also nicknamed the Bulldogs, the team from Ohio got a starring performance from LaTryah Beasley, who posted game highs of 19 points and 17 rebounds. Wilberforce earned an automatic bid to the national tournament via a third-place finish at the Association of Independent Institutions.

“I’m not sure we had the same kind of focus and drive last year when we didn’t know who they were,” Olson said of Wilberforce. “We did still have some individuals who played well. I thought Philly played well and Chloe Schumacher came in and had some nice plays for us. I thought Mack Helman had a nice game too. Collectively, we’ve got to be better.”

Helman chipped in five points, three assists and two steals in a reserve role. Also off the bench, Elsie Aslesen and Taylor Farrell returned after missing time due to injury. All 15 Concordia players on the postseason roster saw action on Wednesday.

Up Next: In the second round of the Naismith Bracket, the Bulldogs will go head-to-head with 15th-ranked Kansas Wesleyan University (26-6), a No. 4 seed. The game is slated to tip off at 12 p.m. CT on Friday (March 13). The Coyotes howled in the first round, toppling Mayville State University (N.D.), 86-64. Kelcey Hinz poured in a team high 23 points for KWU, the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season champion. Concordia and Kansas Wesleyan have not met since the 2010-11 campaign when the Coyotes won both matchups that season.

Lammers powers Bulldogs to fourth-straight GPAC title sweep

SEWARD, Neb. – Philly Lammers and the rest of the senior class had lost ONE time inside Walz Arena in their entire careers. That fact remains intact after the second-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball program did the previously unthinkable, rather the unprecedented. For the fourth year in a row, the Bulldogs have swept GPAC regular-season and postseason titles. Lammers and company toppled rival and fourth-ranked Hastings in Tuesday (March 3)’s GPAC title game, 60-49.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson has never lost a GPAC tournament championship contest in six tries. Concordia (31-2) looks like a strong candidate to be the No. 1 overall seed in the national tournament that begins next week.

“I thought it was an incredible game – two great defensive teams,” Olson said. “Hastings is just so gritty. They wouldn’t go away, but I was really impressed with our players and how they stepped up to make plays in the second half.”

All three meetings between the Bulldogs and Broncos (30-3) have been grinders. On a night when points were tough to come by, Lammers carried her team offensively. The three-time All-American made 9-of-11 shots from the floor on her way to a game high 21 points. She posted seven of those points in the fourth quarter when Concordia finally began to pull away.

For the second-straight trip to Walz, Hastings struggled mightily to generate any offense. Sophia Pankratz drilled a trey at the 9:27 mark of the fourth quarter to put the Broncos up 42-41. The rest of the way, Hastings went 1-for-12 from the floor. The ability of the Bulldogs to tighten the clamps within their zone defense turned a white knuckler into a double-digit margin. The Broncos shot only 29.8 percent from the floor overall.

What Lammers and her classmates have done may not be fully appreciated or comprehended until some years down the road. The accomplishments continue to be staggering.

“It’s the legacy that we’ll leave, I guess,” Lammers said. “It’s something we can be really proud of. That’s a tradition that’s never going to graduate. We’re always going to be here with them and it’s a bar that we’ve set for other future programs to try strive for.”

The majority of the offense came from three seniors in Lammers, Grace Barry (16 points, six assists and four rebounds) and Colby Duvel (11 points, six rebounds and two steals). With her first bucket of the night, Lammers became just the second player in program history to reach 2,000 for a career. Also noteworthy were the treys knocked down by Mackenzie Koepke and MacKenzie Helman – the only two of the night for the Bulldogs.

In the previous three GPAC tournament title games, all at home, Concordia knocked off Dakota Wesleyan, including twice in instant classic fashion. The Bulldog seniors went a combined 78-6 in GPAC regular-season games, 63-1 at home and 12-0 in conference postseason games.

Soon the question will become – can this team repeat what was achieved last March when Concordia celebrated the program’s first-ever national title? With Barry and Lammers on your side, nothing is unattainable.

“It’s definitely one of our goals (to repeat),” Olson said. “I know there’s a lot of really good teams. I like how we’re playing. I like our confidence and our focus. We’re really excited to go up there.”

It’s entirely possible that Concordia could see Hastings again. The Broncos won their first 26 games to begin this season behind star point guard Shandra Farmer. She was held to 1-for-6 shooting on Tuesday, but still found ways to impact the game (eight rebounds, six assists and two steals). Pankratz topped Hastings with 16 points.

The national tournament bracket will be released on Wednesday (March 4) by the NAIA. The Bulldogs will make their 19th all-time appearance on the national stage.

Concordia makes annual push to GPAC final

SEWARD, Neb. – It’s fair to marvel at the consistent excellence of a powerhouse Concordia University women’s basketball program now set to make a fourth-straight appearance in the GPAC tournament championship game. There wasn’t a lot of flow to Saturday (Feb. 29)’s conference semifinal clash, but in the end, it was another double-digit home victory for the second-ranked Bulldogs. They turned away No. 12 Dordt, 94-79, inside Walz Arena.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s program has also reached the 30-win mark for the fourth year in a row. The senior group has also led Concordia to a 62-1 home mark over the past four seasons.

“It’s amazing what this group has done,” Olson said. “Especially the senior group over their four years. To continue to host a conference championship is really cool. We don’t take it for granted. We love it. We’re excited about it. It’s going to be a lot of fun Tuesday night.”

Saturday’s contest featured a combined 51 fouls and 64 free throw attempts. The Bulldogs were a rough 17-for-30 (.567) from the foul line, but their relentlessness in the press got to the Defenders (24-8), who turned it over 35 times. Their minus-12 turnover margin made it difficult to keep up despite shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor.

Senior Colby Duvel and company met a big Dordt team head on. Duvel (14 points and 10 rebounds) posted the second double-double of her career while mixing it up inside with the likes of Erika Feenstra and Rachel Evavold. Concordia actually finished with a 38-37 edge in rebounding over one of the nation’s top rebounding squads.

“We always know going against Dordt, they’re big and they have a physical presence inside,” Duvel said. “We just have to battle back. Calls are going to go your way and calls are going to go against you. You have to stay focused on what you’re playing for.”

There were certain points when it looked like the Bulldogs were going to mop the floor with the Defenders. Concordia took an 18-point lead (54-36) to halftime after Grace Barry pulled up for two in the final seconds of the second quarter. Dordt showed some toughness of its own by whittling a 24-point deficit down to nine with nearly seven minutes still remaining in the contest.

Did anyone really think this veteran team was going to fritter away that large of a lead? Nah. Philly Lammers initiated a 6-0 run with a bucket that restored order and allowed the Bulldogs to cruise down the stretch. Said Olson, “Overall I thought our players were awesome. I felt we just dominated the first half. Then in the second half we jumped on them early and the game got messy. I thought our kids did a good job of keeping their composure and being really tough mentally.”

Barry and Lammers equaled a game high with 17 points apiece (Lammers has run her career scoring total to 1,998). Mackenzie Koepke added 15 points, with two of those coming on some nifty shake N bake in transition. Riley Sibbel was responsible for five of the team’s 18 steals and the bench group (six points apiece from Rylee Pauli and Taryn Schuette) was productive.

Feenstra totaled 16 points and 11 rebounds for a Dordt team that is essentially a lock for a national tournament at-large bid. Karly Gustafson notched 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

The GPAC championship game has become an annual event at Walz Arena, which will host the title matchup for the fourth year in a row. Fourth-ranked Hastings (30-2) will be the opponent for a title matchup set for 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday (March 3). The home team won both regular-season meetings.

Koepke drains career high in GPAC quarterfinal crushing

SEWARD, Neb. – Whatever flaws the second-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team may have shown a week ago were ironed out in the GPAC tournament quarterfinals. While playing the same Midland squad for the second Wednesday in a row, the Bulldogs looked invincible at home once again, winning, 95-46. Concordia nailed 12 treys and forced 34 turnovers in advancing to the conference semifinals.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s program has won 13-straight GPAC tournament home games and is on the cusp of another 30-win season at 29-2 overall. The Bulldogs are in pursuit of a fourth-consecutive GPAC tournament title to equal their string of conference regular-season championships.

“I think there’s a lot of different factors in it,” Olson said of the blowout. “We are just a little bit more confident when we play at home. Watching the tape you could just tell we didn’t play as hard as we needed to at their place. When we play that focused and that hard and that confident at home, we’re a pretty good team.”

It took sophomore Mackenzie Koepke less than three minutes into the third quarter to record a career high scoring total. She made four 3-point shots in the first half alone as the ringleader behind the latest offensive surge. After a couple of road battles last week that took a full four quarters to put in the bag, Concordia returned to its dominant ways. By halftime, the outcome had virtually been decided with the score resting at 54-27.

A week earlier, the Warriors (12-19) shot 48.9 percent from the floor while giving the Bulldogs a tussle (75-68 decision) in Fremont. The well dried up at Walz, where Concordia seems to have a little extra juice. Midland shot only 24.5 percent from the floor on Wednesday. The second half numbers were even more putrid – 13.8 percent (4-for-29).

It all added up to the Warriors suffering the same fate endured by many Walz visitors. All 13 Bulldogs who saw action registered in the scoring column. Koepke’s 19 points (to go along with her five steals) led the way with Grace Barry (15) and Philly Lammers (10 points and seven rebounds) also reaching double figures. Colby Duvel added eight points and four rebounds and the special forces off the bench contributed in a big way with 40 points, including nine from Rylee Pauli and eight from Taryn Schuette.

Koepke is already quite a weapon in the present, but she also showed on Wednesday what the future may look like. She put on a shooting display that included some shake N bake off the dribble.

“I don’t know, honestly,” said Koepke in trying to explain her hot shooting. “My teammates are always so supportive and encouraging. They always know the right thing to say. When you’re feeling good and hitting shots it’s that constant support (that makes the difference) – and they keep feeding me the ball.”

A week ago Midland’s Lexi Kraft made four 3-point field goals and notched 16 points. This time she went just 1-for-7 from the floor and had two points. Not a single Warrior managed more than 10 points. Midland had been playing much better than its record indicated down the stretch of the regular season and even defeated then seventh-ranked Morningside in Sioux City.

In the semifinal round of the conference tournament, the Bulldogs will host 12th-ranked Dordt (24-7, 15-7 GPAC) at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday. Concordia swept the regular-season series from the Defenders, who got past No. 15 Dakota Wesleyan, 75-55, on Wednesday. That result snapped a string of three-straight years that saw the Bulldogs meet up with DWU in the GPAC tournament.

Said Koepke, “Every game from here on out is a big game. It doesn’t matter if we have a bid (to the national tournament locked up). We want to win and we want to prove to people that we’re the best team in the nation.”

Concordia holds off Jamestown, completes fourth-straight GPAC title

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – As head coach Drew Olson remarked in the postgame, this was a contest that felt a lot like the one three days ago. For the second time in four days, the second-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team held off the upset bid from a hot shooting opponent. Thirty-three turnovers forced helped carry the Bulldogs to a 76-66 victory at Jamestown on Saturday (Feb. 22) afternoon.

The win capped the regular season and the fourth-straight GPAC regular-season title for Olson’s monster of a program. Concordia won this championship outright with a nearly spotless 21-1 GPAC record (28-2 overall).

“It’s pretty impressive what this group has done considering some of the injuries,” Olson said. “But they’re just a really tough group that continues to fight every game. To win a GPAC title means a lot because it’s such a great conference. This is a really special group.”

The host Jimmies did not allow the Bulldogs to simply coast to an outright championship. While shooting 11-for-25 from 3-point range and 47.7 percent overall, Jamestown trailed by as few as four points in the final quarter. Despite all the turnovers forced, Concordia never led by more than 11 the entire afternoon. Grace Barry once again served as the closer by putting up nine of her 17 points in the final period.

All five starters reached double figures for the Bulldogs, who have played with a shortened bench over the past couple of weeks. Philly Lammers enjoyed stretches of domination and finished with 18 points, six rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots. Colby Duvel (14), Mackenzie Koepke (12) and Riley Sibbel (10) also found their way into double digits. Sibbel’s three-ball midway through the fourth provided much-needed breathing room.

“Thankfully the turnovers were there because we struggled offensively,” Olson said. “We couldn’t get in a good rhythm. I felt like our defense stepped up and our seniors stepped up … this was the exact same game we had on Wednesday with Midland where we didn’t play our best and the opponent shot really well. We were still able to grind it out.”

Head coach Thad Sankey (CUNE alum)’s team had been a solid 9-4 at home this season. The Jimmies (16-14, 9-13 GPAC) got a big performance off the bench from Macy Nilsen, who shot 4-of-6 from 3-point range on her way to a game high 19 points. Other than a minus-19 turnover disadvantage, Jamestown also lost the free throw battle big – 25-for-36 for Concordia compared to 13-for-21 for the Jimmies.

Just like Wednesday, the rotation was more limited for the Bulldogs. Each of the starters played 27 or more minutes and the bench contributed only five total points. In reserve roles, MacKenzie Helman grabbed five rebounds and Rylee Pauli notched four boards.

The Bulldog seniors have never gone a season without capturing a conference title. Their four-year record in GPAC regular-season games finishes at 78-6. They now take aim at a fourth-straight GPAC tournament championship.

As the No. 1 seed in the GPAC tournament, Concordia will get to play at Walz Arena for the duration of its stay in conference postseason action. The Bulldogs will draw eighth-seeded Midland (12-18, 8-14 GPAC) in the GPAC quarterfinals. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. CT in Seward on Wednesday (Feb. 26). Concordia has won 12-straight GPAC tournament home games dating back to 2013.

Barry, Lammers reach milestones in win at Midland

FREMONT, Neb. – The Concordia University women’s basketball team knew it was in for a sneaky difficult road challenge on Wednesday (Feb. 19) evening. This turned into a four-quarter battle for the Bulldogs, who followed the lead of their vaunted senior class in a 75-68 victory at Midland. The senior quartet of Grace Barry, Colby Duvel, Philly Lammers and Riley Sibbel combined for 61 points.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad retains a one-game lead over Hastings atop the GPAC standings. Concordia (27-2, 20-1 GPAC) has won 13-straight games.

“I thought Midland played really well. The way they shot the ball kept them in the game,” Olson said. “I was pleased with the way we handled that and responded to make enough plays to win. With our health situation we went mostly with our starting group along with Mack Helman. Philly, Colby and Rylee (Pauli) did a lot of damage inside. That was a big strength of ours.”

By game’s end, both Barry and Lammers had reached significant career milestones. Counting her two seasons at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, Barry’s career point total now stands at 1,002. Meanwhile, the three-time All-American Lammers has etched her name in as the program’s third player ever to notch 1,000 career rebounds. Both were instrumental in staving off the upset bid put forward by the host Warriors (11-18, 7-14 GPAC).

Forget what the record looks like for Midland, which entered the night fresh off an impressive 3-1 four-game road swing that featured a victory at then seventh-ranked Morningside. The Bulldogs led by as many as 15 points in the second half, but that advantage was whittled down to seven in part due to a strong shooting performance from Lexi Kraft (4-for-8 from 3-point range) and her Warrior teammates. Midland shot 48.9 percent from the floor and knocked down 10 3-point field goals.

Regardless, it would have been a shock to see a team full of battle-tested seniors let this one slip away with sole possession of first place riding on the outcome. Concordia failed to score in the game’s final three minutes, but the only points it allowed were a Kraft trey that was too little too late. At the controls, Barry stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, nine assists and four steals.

Barry added to her highlight reel with a nifty pass fake and layup along with a bevy of assists to Lammers. The Omaha native finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and four steals in 35 minutes of action. Four of the five Bulldog starters played more than 30 minutes, including Barry, Duvel and Sibbel. Duvel enjoyed a fine evening that saw her post 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the floor. Meanwhile, Sibbel went 3-for-5 from 3-point range and recorded 11 points.

“Riley really stepped up,” Olson said. “That was the best she’s looked shooting the ball in a while. I don’t know if it was playing without the mask or what. She gave us a nice lift. She had a sold all-around game.”

The 2017-18 Concordia semifinalist team actually had its undefeated run (24-0 at the time) end in Fremont that season. The stat that stood out most in favor of the Bulldogs on this particular night was their +11 turnover margin (21 turnovers forced). Kraft (16 points) led a group of three double-figure scorers for Midland.

Off the bench, Concordia got strong contributions from senior MacKenzie Helman (five assists) and sophomore Rylee Pauli (eight points on 4-for-7 shooting). The Bulldogs went only 6-for-22 (.273) from 3-point range, but shot 47.6 percent (30-for-63) overall.

The longest conference road trip was saved for last. Concordia will end the regular season at Jamestown (16-13, 9-12 GPAC) on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. CT from North Dakota. The Bulldogs won the first matchup, 105-56, in Seward.

Helman sizzles in senior day rout

SEWARD, Neb. – It did not take long for this one to become one-sided. A starting lineup of all seniors blitzed Mount Marty from the start as the third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team celebrated a class of six seniors. Senior MacKenzie Helman sizzled in spearheading a 94-51 Bulldog victory inside Walz Arena on Saturday (Feb. 15).

The accomplished senior class, headlined by the likes of Grace Barry and Philly Lammers, has dropped only one home game their entire careers. Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad is now 26-2 overall and in first place in the GPAC at 19-1.

“They really did start great,” Olson said of the seniors. “I thought our offense was clicking early on. It just shows their focus going into each game … it’s such a special group. They have an incredible résumé on the court, but it’s about the stuff they do off the court. They’re just awesome people and role models to the little kids in the community.”

Helman and company never gave the visiting Lancers any whiff of an upset. The Bulldogs began the game on a 19-0 run on the strength of a locked-in senior group. Mount Marty missed its first eight shots from field and finished the game at 31.6 percent shooting while paired with 32 turnovers. On the other end, Concordia got back to lighting it up after its rough and tumble affair with Hastings on Wednesday. The Bulldogs scorched the nets with 16-for-29 3-point shooting.

Helman has been on a tear in the back half of her final collegiate season. She made all six of her shot attempts on Saturday, including five from 3-point range. The Pius X alum has sank 30-of-61 3-point tries since New Year’s Day. Her line on senior day featured 17 points, eight assists and four steals. Helman is certainly doing her part in the pursuit of another GPAC title.

“It’s awesome – just what we’ve worked for as seniors,” Helman said. “We’re getting an opportunity that not many teams get

“I can’t get open on my own. My teammates are creating that opportunity for me. It’s really a team effort.”

Helman got the nod in the starting lineup along with classmates Colby Duvel, Philly Lammers, Taryn Schuette and Riley Sibbel. Together they helped the Bulldogs to a commanding 59-23 halftime advantage. Lammers recorded 11 points and five rebounds (putting her seven rebounds shy of 1,000 for her career). Off the bench, Chloe Schumacher (11) and Barry (10) also reached double figures.

Eight Concordia players registered eight points or more. Schuette collected nine points, four assists and three steals, Rebecca Higgins turned in nine points and six rebounds and Mackenzie Koepke supplied nine points and five rebounds. Higgins and Schumacher both knocked down three treys.

The seniors never have lost to Mount Marty (13-14, 7-13 GPAC), which is in a battle with the likes of Briar Cliff and Midland for the final spot in the GPAC tournament. Bailey Kortan led the Lancers with 14 points.

The senior day ceremony took place at halftime of the Bulldog men’s game. Olson took the mic and paid tribute to a class he’ll always hold near and dear to his heart. Said Olson in front of the crowd, “I love you all more than you will ever know.”

Shortly after the contest ended, Concordia learned it had moved into sole possession of first place in the GPAC standings due to Hastings (18-2 GPAC) falling at Dordt. Olson’s group still has to close the deal next week. Said Olson, “I don’t think it really changes anything. We know we have two tough opponents and we’re on the road, so we have to be focused and go to work each time.”

As Olson mentioned, the Bulldogs will be on the road twice next week during the final week of the regular season. Concordia will be at Midland (11-17, 7-13 GPAC) on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. CT tipoff in Fremont. The first regular-season meeting between the two sides occurred way back on Nov. 12 in what resulted in a 93-70 home win for the Bulldogs.

Lammers, Dawgs grind one out to pull even atop GPAC

SEWARD, Neb. – Even through its glorious runs throughout the 2010s and beyond, the Concordia University women’s basketball program has never gone undefeated in GPAC regular-season play. So why would it be keen on letting rival Hastings accomplish such a feat? The third-ranked Broncos went only 13-for-61 from the floor in falling for the first time this season. The Bulldogs won a rugged affair, 53-46, on Wednesday (Feb. 12) night inside a packed Walz Arena.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad (25-2, 18-1 GPAC) now moves into a tie for first place with Hastings as it aims for a fourth GPAC regular-season title in a row. The unbeaten run is over for the Broncos (26-1, 18-1 GPAC).

“We weren’t at our best. I think a lot of that has to do with Hastings’ pressure getting us out of our offense,” Olson said. “But our kids just have so much toughness and they find a way. They made some big plays when we needed it.”

Walz remains a fortress from which few opponents emerge unscathed. There may have been some battle scars on both sides after this one. It was a game for the tough and the gritty, which describes All-American Philly Lammers. Baskets were hard to come by, but Lammers came up with them when it was critical for the team. Lammers used her physicality to muscle up eight crucial points in the fourth quarter.

With Concordia clinging to a 46-41 lead in the final three minutes, Lammers skied over a Bronco for an offensive board and made a power post move on her way to two points. On the next offensive possession, Grace Barry found Lammers for a reverse layup on a nifty out-of-bounds play. In a slugfest like this, the nine-point lead with less than two minutes remaining felt like a commanding advantage.

The energy of the crowd certainly played in favor of the Bulldogs. That was enough to help carry them through. Said Lammers, “It was an awesome game, awesome atmosphere. I love all the fans that come out and all the support our friends and family continue to show us. It was just awesome.”

It was one of those nights for the Broncos. They turned it over only 13 times, but they got very little production in the half court against a Concordia zone. Hastings actually had a chance to cut into a 50-43 deficit on a steal of an in-bounds that resulted in an uncontested missed layup in the final minute. That was the last gasp for the Broncos. Even star Shandra Farmer was just 2-for-9 from the floor. Emma Grenfell paced the visitors with 12 points.

It wasn’t exactly the formula that Olson has typically concocted during his tenure. The Bulldogs were minus-11 in turnovers and had 20 fewer shots from the field than Hastings. It took a collective defensive tenacity and the sheer will of Barry and Lammers to get it done. Lammers finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots while Barry posted a line of 17 points, eight assists and five rebounds. No other Concordia player scored more than five points.

Chalk up another hard-nosed victory in front of a special Walz atmosphere. Said Olson, “It’s awesome for women’s small college basketball. I hope a lot of the girls around here see how great it can be. For our players, this is why you come to Concordia. You get to play in big games. You get to play in atmospheres like this. This is what you dream about as a little kid. It’s so much fun to play in.”

The Bulldogs will be at home for the final time this regular season when Mount Marty (13-13, 7-12 GPAC) makes a visit to Seward on Saturday. Concordia will honored its accomplished group of nine seniors at halftime of the men’s game that afternoon. The women’s game will tip off at 2 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs have won each of the last seven meetings with the Lancers.

Cornell, Dawgs roll Doane ahead of key road clash

CRETE, Neb. – While feasting on turnovers, the third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team raced out to a 24-1 lead as part of a comfortable evening inside the Haddix Center in Crete, Neb. Host Doane provided little resistance in a game that it saw it go the first seven-and-a-half minutes without a basket. The Bulldogs steamrolled their way to a 102-47 victory as they remain in hot pursuit of another GPAC title.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad did not get caught looking ahead with a trip to No. 9 Dordt and a home game versus No. 2 Hastings on the horizon. Concordia (23-2, 16-1 GPAC) remains a game out of first place with five contests left in the regular season.

“We had a really good, mature approach to tonight,” Olson said. “It really showed that we came in focused and played well early to build a big lead. It’s a good sign of where our maturity is at.”

Considering the Bulldogs rocked the Tigers, 110-47, on Dec. 4, Wednesday’s outcome wasn’t unexpected. Concordia won its eighth-straight series meeting over Doane by dominating all facets. While forcing 40 turnovers, the Bulldogs reached the 100-point mark for the 11th time this season. It was clear early on, this was just a matter of how lopsided the final score would end up.

Twelve different Concordia players registered in the scoring column, including five in double figures: Claire Cornell (17), Philly Lammers (15), Grace Barry (13), Rebecca Higgins (12) and Colby Duvel (10). Cornell’s 17 points and 11 rebounds both represented career highs as she notched the first double-double of her career. The Elm Creek, Neb., native made 7-of-8 field goal attempts.

Also a national qualifier in track and field, Cornell’s athleticism was on full display in Crete. Said Olson, “Today was a good example of what she’s capable of. She gave great effort defensively and on the boards and when she gets in transition, she’s just so much more athletic than most people. She was able to get a lot of easy buckets that way.”

It was a mostly miserable evening for Doane (2-20, 1-16 GPAC), which barely had more points than turnovers. Haylee Heits served as its only reliable source of offense. She totaled 19 points and eight rebounds while netting 8-of-9 free throw tries. The foul line was about the only area of advantage for the Tigers, who shot 31.0 percent for the night.

Not a single Bulldog logged more than 18 minutes as Olson divvied out the playing time. The reserves combined for 53 points. In addition to Cornell’s fine night off the bench, Taryn Schuette added nine points (3-for-3 from beyond the arc), five steals and four assists. Concordia shot 51.9 percent (42-for-81) from the floor and limited its turnover count to 14. The Bulldogs outrebounded Doane, 40-32. The largest lead of the game stood at 58 points early in the fourth quarter.

The three-game road swing will conclude on Saturday in Sioux Center, Iowa, where Concordia and Dordt (20-5, 12-5 GPAC) will tip off at 2 p.m. CT. In this season’s first meeting, inside Walz Arena, the Bulldogs earned a 69-55 win (Jan. 4). The only team to knock off the Defenders on their home court this season was Morningside.

Bulldogs erase nine-point fourth-quarter deficit in gritty win

MITCHELL, S.D. – This win was more about grit than it was about playing beautiful basketball. In the end, the scoreboard at the Corn Palace pleased the eyes of the visitors, who appeared to be in serious trouble in the waning moments. However, senior point guard Grace Barry clutched up and the third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team gutted out a 69-67 victory at No. 12 Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday (Feb. 1).

These are the types of games championship programs find ways to win. Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s program has now won nine of the past 10 meetings with the rival Tigers and has moved to 22-2 overall (15-1 GPAC).

“It just shows that we have the heart of a champion,” Olson said. “It also shows that we have really good depth. Even if key players go down, we have others who can step up and do some really nice things … In the fourth quarter we found a way. We turned it around and showed a lot of toughness.”

It’s going to be a struggle when the shooting percentage hovers in the low 30s on the road. The Bulldogs trailed 54-45 early in the fourth quarter and still found themselves down four in the final few minutes on Saturday. Of course Barry didn’t do it alone, but she posted Concordia’s final nine points of the contest, including two on pressure cooker free throws with 2.2 seconds left on the clock. Those foul shots broke a 67-67 tie. Dakota Wesleyan failed to get a shot off on the game’s final possession.

MacKenzie Helman also played a critical role in the outcome. She came off the bench to play 21 minutes that saw her total 12 points, five assists and three steals. She buried two 3-point shots during the fourth-quarter rally and later emerged with the theft that set up Barry’s game-winning free throws. Helman led the special forces off the bench that helped alleviate some concerns caused by injuries.

The turnovers negated the shooting advantage (43.4 percent to 33.3 percent) that the Tigers enjoyed on their home court. Dakota Wesleyan frittered the ball away 32 times (eight by star Kynedi Cheeseman). The Tigers fell despite a big day in the paint from Jessica Mieras, who notched 21 points and seven rebounds. Cheeseman poured in 18 points and Kaylee Kirk added 12. Sarah Carr was held to seven points on 2-for-11 shooting.

Barry went 6-for-19 from the field, but she did big things with the game on the line. Said Olson, “She wasn’t at her best but when really needed her to be, she was amazing. She came up with some big plays down the stretch. We kind of stole one today.”

Before fouling out late in the game, Philly Lammers notched 16 points, six steals and four rebounds. The trio of Barry, Helman and Lammers combined for 46 points. Colby Duvel contributed six points and eight rebounds. Off the bench, Claire Cornell chipped in six points and Rylee Pauli swiped three steals. After being hit in the face a few days earlier, Riley Sibbel played with a mask on, but she was limited to 14 minutes.

Olson had plenty of praise for Helman’s performance in saying, “Mack Helman continues to step up in big ways. I’m so proud of what she’s become this season.”

A stretch of three-straight GPAC road games will continue on Wednesday when the Bulldogs visit Doane (2-19, 1-15 GPAC) for a 6 p.m. CT tipoff inside the Haddix Center. In this season’s first meeting, Concordia trounced the Tigers, 110-47, on Dec. 4. The Bulldogs have won seven-straight matchups in the series.

Bulldogs pull away from Northwestern behind Barry, Helman

SEWARD, Neb. – The Bulldogs were bloodied early – literally – but they shook off the upset bid of Sammy Blum and visiting Northwestern while continuing their winning ways. The third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team absorbed 14 Red Raider 3-point field goals and pulled away late for a 91-76 victory inside Walz Arena on Wednesday (Jan. 29) night.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad effectively transitioned back into GPAC play after capturing the Concordia Invitational Tournament title this past weekend. The Bulldogs have moved to 21-2 overall and to 14-1 inside the conference.

Assistant coach Tae’lor Purdy-Korrell joined the postgame on 104.9 Max Country. Said Purdy-Korrell, “It was kind of a weird first half with injuries to a couple of our players. We had a little bit of a slow start. I do think we did some good things offensively. Defensively we were a little slow to start but we managed to make some adjustments at half.”

The final score is a bit deceiving. No. 17 Northwestern (12-8, 7-8 GPAC) hung tight for nearly all of the first three quarters. Finally, Concordia distanced itself from the Red Raiders by getting hot from long range. Taryn Schuette, Delani Fahey and Mackenzie Koepke each nailed a trey during a stretch that saw the Bulldogs turn a three-point lead into an 11-point advantage late in the third period.

The lead grew as large as 18 points (91-73) in the latter stages of the fourth quarter. MacKenzie Helman did the honors of providing the daggers. She fluttered home three treys in the final 3:13 of game time to snuff out any idea of an upset. Helman equaled Grace Barry for a team high with 17 points, leading an attack that produced five double-figure scorers.

Barry also dished out nine assists and swiped five steals. The other double-figure scorers were Colby Duvel (13), Schuette (12) and Koepke (11). Koepke grabbed nine rebounds and Schuette snagged five rebounds. Offensively, Concordia was on its game after the first quarter. It ended up shooting 50.7 percent (34-for-67) from the floor and 45.8 percent (11-for-24) from 3-point range. It outnumbered Northwestern in bench points, 54-7.

“I thought they did a great job,” Purdy-Korell said of Barry and Helman. “Especially MacKenzie coming in and filling the void for Riley (Sibbel) for a while. Mack has been playing really well lately and her shot has been falling. With Grace, any given night she is un-guardable. I thought she did a really good job getting to the hoop and creating for her teammates.”

Blum was the ringleader in allowing the Red Raiders to hang tight. She was a scalding 7-for-8 from beyond the arc while racking up a game high 25 points. Devyn Kemble also chipped in with 17 points. Northwestern turned the ball over only three times in the opening quarter but finished with 24 turnovers, compared to 15 by the Bulldogs. The Red Raiders have scuffled a bit in the month of January, going 2-6 since the calendar flipped to 2020.

Chalk up the ninth win over a ranked opponent this season for Concordia, which has won 10 of the past 11 meetings with Northwestern. The Bulldogs also defeated the Red Raiders in Orange City, Iowa, on Jan. 2, 97-81. Even a Riley Sibbel bloodied nose early in the game failed to slow down Concordia.

A trip to the Corn Palace will be up next. The Bulldogs will be in Mitchell, S.D., on Saturday for a 2 p.m. CT tipoff at No. 12 Dakota Wesleyan (16-7, 9-6 GPAC). In the first meeting this season between the two sides, Concordia rallied from a big early deficit to win going away, 100-72, inside Walz.

CIT reign continues

RIVER FOREST, Ill. – The Concordia University, Nebraska women’s basketball program has taken ownership of the Concordia Invitational Tournament. It hasn’t just won seven CITs in a row, it has dominated them. This year it was again Concordia University, Wisconsin’s turn to get dismantled in the CIT championship game by the Bulldogs. CUNE forced 32 turnovers in a 102-47 victory.

CIT MVP honors went to Grace Barry, the fuel that powers the engine of 14th-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad. Olson has presided over 11 of the program’s 30 all-time CIT championships. The Bulldogs moved to 20-2 overall.

“It’s definitely an expectation we have for our program (to win CIT),” Olson said. “Any time you win a championship, you win a trophy and you continue to have that pride in being the best Concordia – it still definitely feels good.”

CUNE dealt with foul trouble, but its depth and full-court pressure never allowed the Falcons (10-7) to get comfortable. There were several occasions that saw CUW have major difficulty advancing the ball past the timeline and it managed only five made field goals for the entire first half. In addition, senior Colby Duvel provided a major lift offensively with 13 of her game high 19 points coming in the first half.

Blink and you might miss a massive run by these Bulldogs. They turned a modest 20-14 lead midway through the second quarter into a 48-26 halftime lead. The large spread allowed for playing time to be spread out once again. Barry finished with 10 points, eight assists and two steals while doing most of her damage in the first half. The bench took it from there.

Sophomore Chloe Schumacher went wild late in the contest and finished with 13 points on the strength of 4-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc. The CUNE reserves outscored CUW themselves, totaling 56 points. The bench was responsible for 10 of the 13 Bulldog treys on the evening. Elsie Aslesen put up nine points and Delani Fahey and MacKenzie Helman chipped in eight points apiece.

The Bulldogs were especially impressive in the third quarter when they feathered the Falcons to the tune of a 33-9 score. Name a statistic and CUNE had the advantage, like its 44-36 edge in rebounds. The Bulldogs pilfered 23 steals, including five by the pesky Riley Sibbel.

Lammers joined Barry on the CIT all-tournament team. Lammers totaled 24 points on the weekend. She was the 2019 CIT MVP. Barry also had 20 points, seven assists and six steals in Friday’s win. This was a sterling final CIT for the seniors such as Barry, Lammers and Duvel.

“It’s one of our goals early on in the season (to win CIT),” Duvel said. “It’s about coming together with all the Concordias and competing our hearts out. It’s special to get to play here at CIT and to get to do it four times with all of my senior teammates.”

Trophy celebrations have become commonplace for Duvel and those seniors. They are doing their best not to take it for granted. Joked Duvel, “As the times change the poses change.”

Barry and the Bulldogs have reached the 100-point mark 10 times this season. Their offense re-ignited over the final three quarters versus CUW. The day before, CUNE toppled Concordia University, Ann Arbor, 74-49.

The Bulldogs will return to Seward for some home cooking on Wednesday when they will host 17th-ranked Northwestern (12-7, 7-7 GPAC) for a 6 p.m. CT collision. In this season’s first meeting in Orange City, Iowa, CUNE topped the Red Raiders, 97-81. The Bulldogs have won 10 of the last 11 matchups in the series.

Barry good third quarter keys CIT rout of CUAA

RIVER FOREST, Ill. – In round one of the annual Concordia Invitational Tournament, the Concordia University, Nebraska women’s basketball team rode a dominant third quarter performance to the winner’s circle as the CIT win streak remained intact. The third-ranked Bulldogs had some issues with free throw shooting, but their 42 turnovers forced took the wind out of the sails of Concordia University, Ann Arbor. The result was a 74-49 victory in action inside Geiseman Gymnasium in River Forest, Ill.

Head coach Drew Olson’s program has won 13 CIT games in a row, winning them by an average of nearly 30 points per game. CUNE moved to 19-2 overall this season.

“I just thought it was our focus (in the third quarter) and our aggressiveness to take advantage of what they were doing,” Olson said. “We did a great job defensively in the first half. We just weren’t playing well offensively. Once we settled in and calmed ourselves down we started playing really good basketball.”

After shooting just 31.6 percent (12-for-38) from the floor over the first 20 minutes, the Bulldogs turned on the jets with a third period that left the Cardinals in the dust. During that 10-minute stretch, CUNE outscored CUAA 28-7 and made 11-of-19 shots from the floor. Meanwhile, the Cardinals managed only two field goal makes the entire quarter. With 10 minutes to go, the Bulldogs owned an insurmountable 60-31 lead.

When this team needs to be pulled out of a bit of a lull, seniors Grace Barry and Philly Lammers are a trusted pair of stars to lean upon. Barry notched eight of her game high 20 points in the third quarter that included a pick-pocket of a steal and bucket. Barry finished with seven assists and six steals. Meanwhile, Lammers powered in 17 points and collected five rebounds, five steals and a blocked shot.

Early on, Tris’styn Williams (19 points and 12 rebounds) and the Cardinals (12-8) hung tight and even held a 23-22 lead late in the first half. That was before CUNE went on a 38-8 run. CUAA showed some life in the fourth quarter with a 13-0 run to get it started. Eventually the advantage creeped back above 20 points in a comfortable closing stretch.

This game featured plenty of statistical oddities. The Bulldogs somehow shot 9-for-29 from beyond the arc, but 9-for-22 from the foul line. Delani Fahey got going again by knocking down 3-of-4 shots from 3-point range for nine points. MacKenzie Helman chipped in six points and a pair of steals.

The reigning national tournament MVP, Barry relishes the opportunity to play in front of hyper-charged crowds such as this one. The energy will ramp up a little bit more on Saturday. Said Barry, “It’s a pretty awesome atmosphere. The team camaraderie is just awesome. We’re playing for a great purpose and I think it’s so cool that you can get so many competitive teams through the game of basketball, and we can also have fellowship together.”

Once CIT is in the books, it’ll be the stretch run of the GPAC season. Time for Barry and Lammers to take over. Said Olson, “Grace was phenomenal that first half. I felt like we were rattled and she was the one keeping us in the lead and doing some really nice things. Both her and Philly just dominated for a few stretches. They’re incredible players.”

CIT will continue on Saturday with the championship game getting underway at 5:30 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs are seeking the 30th CIT title in program history and the seventh in a row. CUNE has won the championship in 10 of 13 CIT’s during Olson’s tenure.

Bulldogs wear out Mustangs with pressure, 3-point shooting

SEWARD, Neb. – Visiting Morningside lost the turnover margin in a big way – and it cost it. The third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team went wire-to-wire with the press in getting the Mustangs out of their game. The defensive tenacity of the Bulldogs carried them to an 85-61 win as a three-games-in-four-days stretch began Wednesday (Jan. 22) in victorious fashion.

Head coach Drew Olson’s program has now won eight of the last nine meetings with Morningside. Concordia (18-2, 13-1 GPAC) effectively kept pace behind first-place Hastings (13-0 GPAC) while moving two games up on the Mustangs (17-5, 11-3 GPAC).

“I thought our kids did a great job defensively being focused on what we wanted to do,” Olson said. “The pressure did get to them at times. I just thought it got the pace going the way we wanted it.”

This wasn’t quite a thing of beauty at all times, but the end result was the perfect way to start CIT week. Both teams barely shot above 40 percent and Morningside made only one of its first 16 tries from 3-point range. The Bulldogs continue to give themselves margin for error with a press that proved it can even provide fits for a veteran squad like the one accomplished head coach Jamie Sale puts on the court.

An 8-0 run to begin the third quarter supplied a 45-31 Concordia lead and set the tone for the rest of the way. Out of the break, Mackenzie Koepke found the bottom of the net on two 3-point tries and Philly Lammers rolled in two points to cap the run. The Mustangs never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way. They managed only 11 points in the third quarter.

The contrast from the 3-point arc was another huge difference maker. The Bulldogs made it a runaway with their marksmanship in the final quarter. Taylor Farrell, MacKenzie Helman, Taryn Schuette and Riley Sibbel all hit at least one triple in the final stanza and Lammers added an exclamation mark with a fancy layup in transition. After missing nearly all of last week, Lammers returned to the court on Wednesday and totaled 13 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists.

“She’s just such a huge, important part of our team,” Olson said. “We found ways to win without her, but obviously we’re a lot better with her. I’m really proud of her. She was courageous and tough and really had a huge impact on this game.”

Farrell wound up leading Concordia with 14 points while making four treys. Koepke added 13 points and seven rebounds, Grace Barry filled the stat sheet with eight points, eight assists and five steals and Colby Duvel notched nine points and nine rebounds. It added up to a win despite 32.4 percent shooting in the first half. The Bulldogs made up for it by going 14-for-26 (.538) from 3-point range.

Morningside had won six in a row – all by double digits. Sydney Hupp did her part by putting up 23 points and eight rebounds. The Mustangs are actually the only program to win at Walz Arena since the start of the 2016-17 season. Concordia has won 61 of its last 62 home games.

Next up is the Concordia Invitational Tournament, which dates back to 1973 on the women’s side. The Bulldogs will be in search of their 30th CIT title all-time and seventh in a row. CUNE will get CIT started in River Forest, Ill., on Friday by taking on Concordia-Ann Arbor (12-7) at 1 p.m. CT. Lammers is the reigning CIT MVP.

Helman, Cornell pick up slack in win at Briar Cliff

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – One could have had the makings of a dynamite team with two of the spectators that watched from the Bulldog bench: All-Americans Taylor Cockerill and Philly Lammers. For the first time in her career, Lammers missed a game. She watched as the third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team rolled to an 18-0 lead out of the gate and cruised to a 76-64 victory at Briar Cliff on Saturday (Jan. 18) afternoon.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson hopes to have Lammers back soon as they make the push for another GPAC championship. The Bulldogs have run their record to 17-2 overall (12-1 GPAC).

“I thought they did a great job, especially defensively,” Olson said of Briar Cliff. “We couldn’t get anything in the lane and had to work for every basket, but I’m proud of our kids. We started out great. Now when you look at the final score, it was really important to be up 18-0. I thought Claire Cornell gave us some good minutes and then Mack Helman really stepped up big. It was just a good team win.”

Concordia’s quick start wound up being quite critical with the Chargers (5-15, 2-10 GPAC) playing the Bulldogs tight over the contest’s final three quarters. Fortunately, Concordia still has the services of senior point guard Grace Barry, who helped her side build a 51-27 lead in the third quarter. Barry notched nine of her game high 18 points during that period. The Bulldogs enjoyed that large advantage thanks to a 24-4 run that began late in the first half and leaked into the second half.

Featuring a balanced attack of its own, Briar Cliff managed to chop its deficit down to 12 during the final quarter. The Chargers were plagued by their 30 turnovers and 3-for-19 shooting from 3-point range. Freshman guard Konnor Sudmann appears to have a bright future. She did not play in Seward in the season’s first meeting, but she put up 11 points and five steals this time around.

In place of Lammers, sophomore Elsie Aslesen made her first start of the season. She finished with five points and three rebounds. Olson got major contributions off the bench from MacKenzie Helman (14 points) and Claire Cornell (13 points and four steals). Cornell totaled 11 points in the opening half. Mackenzie Koepke and Riley Sibbel also added nine points apiece while Colby Duvel posted six points and three rebounds despite foul trouble.

Concordia will try to sharpen up before returning to Walz Arena. In Saturday’s game, it shot 36.8 percent (25-for-68) from the floor and committed 24 turnovers compared to 15 assists. Back on Nov. 16, the Bulldogs pummeled the Chargers by a 113-59 score. Concordia has won 10-straight meetings with Briar Cliff.

“Any road win in the conference is a good win, especially when Briar Cliff plays this well,” Olson said. “They did a great job fighting. We’ll take the win and go home.”

A hectic CIT week is up next. Before heading to River Forest, Ill., the Bulldogs will host seventh-ranked Morningside (16-4, 10-2 GPAC) at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday. In the first meeting this season between the two sides, Concordia earned an 88-77 win over the Mustangs in Sioux City. The Bulldogs have won seven of the past eight series meetings.

Familiar script followed in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. – Sophomore Elsie Aslesen put together an 11-point first quarter while helping her side quickly gain a double-digit advantage in Omaha on Wednesday (Jan. 15) night. The third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team never looked back in a contest that went the way most observers would have anticipated it to go. The Bulldogs departed from the Lied Fitness Center with a 108-64 victory.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad is in the midst of a three-game stretch against unranked GPAC opponents. So far Concordia (16-2, 11-1 GPAC) has taken care of business.

“Elsie played well and was aggressive and Willy (Taylor Farrell) was efficient offensively again,” Olson said. “The pace went the way wanted. We wanted to go fast and we knew they would have a hard time keeping up with that pace. I hope we can learn from some of our mistakes moving forward.”

If you’ve followed the program, this game was a rerun. It’s the episode where the Bulldogs use their superior talent and hyper-aggressive press to overwhelm the opponent. Along the way, everyone contributes for another 100-point outing. The feat of reaching the century mark has now been accomplished nine times this season by the nation’s second highest scoring offense.

In this instance, reserves such as sophomores Elsie Aslesen and Chloe Schumacher and freshmen Taylor Farrell and Averie Lambrecht took advantage of their opportunities. All four were in double figures with Aslesen’s 16 points leading the way. Farrell stayed hot by totaling 15 points (also four assists), Schumacher added 12 points (4-for-6 from the floor) and Lambrecht contributed 10 points and three steals.

Point guard Grace Barry topped the starting five with 11 points and nine assists. Mackenzie Koepke also notched eight points and five steals. As a team, Concordia recorded 25 assists to just 13 turnovers. On the other end, the Bulldogs forced 40 turnovers, which negated College of Saint Mary’s 52.4 percent shooting from the field.

Often in games like this the only suspense regards how long it will take Concordia to reach 100 points. The answer tonight was 35 minutes, 19 seconds of game time. Lambrecht did the honors of pushing her team into triple digits with a steal and three-point play as a result of her drive to the bucket. Fortunately, it all added up to a lopsided victory despite the absence of All-American Philly Lammers for the majority of the night.

The Flames (5-14, 2-10 GPAC) were also led by their bench. Veronica Kobza put up a team high 15 points and Bailey White followed with 14. In terms of score, this was an improvement for CSM as compared to its performance at Walz Arena. Back on Nov. 20, the Bulldogs set a school record for most points in a single game with a 127-51 trouncing.

The Bulldogs face another road challenge on Saturday when they will be at Briar Cliff (5-14, 2-9 GPAC) for a 2 p.m. CT tipoff from the Newman Flanagan Center in Sioux City, Iowa. Concordia has won nine-straight matchups in the series with the Chargers. In this season’s meeting in Seward, the Bulldogs ran away with a 113-59 victory.

Bulldogs rebound by smothering Jamestown

SEWARD, Neb. – Three days after suffering its first conference loss of the season, the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team returned to dominance with a 105-56 blowout victory over Jamestown. The Bulldogs turned up the heat in their full-court press and flustered the Jimmies into 38 turnovers and 31.1 percent shooting from the floor.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad may lose its No. 1 national ranking next week when a new poll comes out, but all its goals are still out in front of it. Concordia is now 15-2 overall (10-1 GPAC).

“We talked about getting back to playing our style of basketball,” Olson said. “It’s high pressure, playing as hard as we possibly can and being together. I thought we did a really good job of that for the most part today.”

Under Olson, the Bulldogs almost never lose two games in a row. In other words, Jamestown (10-7, 4-6 GPAC) faced an uphill battle while up against a program that has fallen at home only once since late January of 2016. This time, Concordia started fast with a 10-0 run out of the gate and never gave the Jimmies a chance. The lead stood in double digits for the entirety of the final three quarters and peaked at 49 in the fourth period.

Off the bench, freshman Taylor Farrell sniped from long range, hitting 5-of-6 tries from beyond the arc. She led a typical balanced attack for the Bulldogs, who had five double-figure scorers, including Grace Barry (14), Riley Sibbel (14), Philly Lammers (13) and Claire Cornell (10). Cornell topped Concordia with eight rebounds while Colby Duvel and Lammers grabbed seven boards apiece.

Farrell is an impressive 25-for-48 (.521) from 3-point range this season. The 18 points she totaled equaled her career high from the pre-Christmas victory over William Carey University (Miss.).

“I think it really opened our eyes,” Farrell said of Wednesday’s loss at No. 4 Hastings. “We all came here really ready to go today. We were very focused.”

That focus was evident on the defensive end. By halftime, the outcome had already been decided. A 22-3 run to begin the second quarter put Concordia up 51-17. That spurt got kick-started by treys on three-straight possessions – two from Farrell. The lead expanded as the turnovers mounted. Two Jimmie starters committed eight turnovers apiece.

Only one Jamestown player managed to crack double figures. Hannah DeMars posted 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists. The Jimmies also shot just 5-for-22 (.227) from 3-point range. Concordia alum Thad Sankey’s squad had come off of a win four days earlier over Valley City State University (N.D.).

Amazing Grace added five assists and four steals to her stat line. By day’s end, Lammers ran her career point total to 1,812. That number puts her at No. 2 behind only Bailey Morris (2,054) on the program’s all-time scoring list. Another career milestone is within Lammer’s reach. She has grabbed 946 rebounds at Concordia.

The Bulldogs will hit the road on Wednesday to play at College of Saint Mary (5-13, 2-9 GPAC). Tipoff from Omaha, Neb., is set for 6 p.m. CT. Back on Nov. 20, Concordia broke a school record for points in a single game with a 127-51 home victory over the Flames.

Bulldogs fall at hyper-charged Hastings

HASTINGS, Neb. – Hastings looked like the more focused team for much of Wednesday (Jan. 8) evening. A veteran Bronco bunch showcased too much grit defensively while keeping the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team in check. The Bulldogs shot just 36.7 percent from the floor while falling, 66-59, inside Lynn Farrell Arena.

This contest had plenty of meaning as far as regular-season games go. Fourth-ranked Hastings (18-0, 10-0 GPAC) remains unbeaten on the season while Concordia (14-2, 9-1 GPAC) has been tagged with its first conference blemish. Undeniably, this was a great atmosphere for college basketball.

“It was a great crowd. It was great to see so many high school teams come out and support,” Olson said. “It was really good for college women’s basketball and a great experience for our players to play in. We’ll play in a few more of those throughout the year. I thought defensively they were really, really good. They caused us a lot of problems and didn’t allow us to do what we normally do in our offense. They exposed some things that we have to get better at.”

The Broncos are tough as nails on the defensive end. Led by star point guard Shandra Farmer, Hastings presents a starting lineup that features four seniors and one junior. In other words, Coach Jina Douglas’ bunch is unafraid of a GPAC showdown. At times it suffocated the life out of the Bulldogs, who committed 25 turnovers. Uncharacteristically, Concordia was a rough 10-for-23 from the foul line, compounding its issues. It also went the final six minutes of the first half without scoring a single point.

As one would expect, the Bulldogs never gave in. Point guard Grace Barry willed her team back into it by scoring eight points during a fourth quarter that began with Concordia trailing, 56-43. Methodically, Concordia whittled its deficit all the way down to five (62-57) when Barry stole the ball in the backcourt and scored on a layup with just under two-and-a-half minutes remaining. Down the stretch, the Broncos did what they do best, defend.

Farmer and her side took better care of the ball (17 turnovers) than most Bulldog foes and did just enough offensively. Gabby Grasso (15), Sophia Pankratz (14) and Kaitlyn Schmit (12) each reached double figures in scoring while Farmer finished with nine points. Hastings shot 44.4 percent (24-for-54) from the floor.

Barry finished with a game high 17 points and six steals. Philly Lammers was held to 5-for-15 from the floor, but she posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Colby Duvel added eight points and eight rebounds and MacKenzie Helman contributed six points off the bench.

This game marked the first time Concordia and Hastings had matched up when both teams owned a top five national ranking since 2003. The Broncos managed to end an eight-game series losing streak. At 18-0, Hastings has broken a program record for most consecutive wins to begin a season. The two sides will meet again inside Walz Arena on Feb. 12.

The Bulldogs will be back at home to host Jamestown (10-6, 4-5 GPAC) at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday. The Jimmies are under the direction of Thad Sankey, a Concordia alum now in his second season as head coach. The Bulldogs won last season’s meetings by scores of 87-59 in Seward and 98-67 in Jamestown.

Sibbel enjoys career day, Dawgs put the clamps on Defenders

SEWARD, Neb. – Philly Lammers of Concordia and Erika Feenstra of Dordt were the headliners coming into play, but it was Riley Sibbel and a stingy Bulldog half-court defense that stole the show. Top-ranked Concordia held the sixth-ranked Defenders to 36.7 percent shooting and forced 29 turnovers while posting a 69-55 victory inside Walz Arena on Saturday (Jan. 4).

It has been a stellar week for 14th-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad, which also notched a 97-81 win at No. 12 Northwestern on Thursday. The quick turnaround was no problem.

“It was a weird game,” Olson said. “They’re a good defensive team, but we were just really bad on offense. We missed some shots we normally make and got a bit tentative at times. We find ways to win. Tonight it was on the defensive end. Our half-court defense was really focused in on what we wanted to do against them.”

Sibbel has enjoyed quite a start to 2020. She matched the career high of 15 points that she had at Northwestern by pouring in a game high 26 points on Saturday. Sibbel was the key to keeping the Bulldogs afloat during a first half that saw her score nearly half the team’s points (20 of 41). Then in the fourth quarter, Grace Barry took over by recording 10 of her 16 points over the game’s final 6:06 of game time.

Of course Sibbel and her teammates play some nasty defense. Sibbel plucked three steals while Concordia limited Feenstra to only three shot attempts and eight points. The only Defender to reach double figures was Ebby Prewitt, who contributed 13 points. It was especially rough from 3-point range, where Dordt (14-3, 6-3 GPAC) went 5-for-24 (.208).

“We weren’t really in the offensive flow we usually have,” Sibbel said. “I think one thing that helped us is the past week we’ve really been focusing on our defense and getting stops. That’s really what helped us today. We found a way to get it done on the defensive side of the floor.”

At times Dordt tried to give the Bulldogs a dose of their former medicine with some full-court pressure. It did not work quite as well as the visitors had hoped. Concordia fed off a plus-17 turnover margin. Amazing Grace dished out nine assists compared to three turnovers. Mackenzie Koepke joined Sibbel and Barry in double figures with 12. All five starters had at least two steals. Philly Lammers was frustrated into a 1-for-9, two-point outing, but she did lead all players with eight rebounds.

Just like Thursday, the starters logged heavy minutes. They answered the bell. Sibbel looks to be a strong candidate for GPAC Player of the Week with her impressive three-day stretch. She went 10-for-15 from the floor on Saturday.

“She’s been playing really confidently,” Olson said. “I just love the aggressiveness she’s taken on. She can step up and knock down threes, but also get to the rim. She was a huge part of our success today.”

Bill Harmsen’s squad gave Concordia as many fits as anyone during last season’s national title run. The Defenders topped the Bulldogs in double overtime, 97-92, last January and then fell 90-88 in late January at Walz in another wire-to-wire clash.

The Bulldogs have a major showdown coming up Wednesday when they will be at Lynn Farrell Arena for a clash with Hastings (17-0, 9-0 GPAC) at 6 p.m. CT. The unbeaten Broncos have equaled a school record for most consecutive victories to begin a season. Concordia has had their number with eight-straight wins in the series.

Team effort keys win at No. 12 Northwestern

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – A place that had formerly been a house of horrors has become the site of three Bulldog victories over the past four seasons. Stars Grace Barry and Philly Lammers shined once again as the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team emerged from the Bultman Center in Orange City, Iowa, with a 97-81 victory. The Bulldogs overcame host and 12th-ranked Northwestern shooting 48.4 percent from the floor.

The contest on Thursday (Jan. 2) marked the first of three in a row against teams ranked in the top 12 of the national poll. Head coach Drew Olson’s squad remains unbeaten in conference play at 8-0 (13-1 overall).

“This was a really good win for us tonight,” Olson said. “I was happy with how many different people stepped up and made plays. It felt like we were just kind of trading baskets at times in those second and third quarters and then we really defended in the fourth quarter. We shot the ball well and had a good team performance at a tough place to play.”

Concordia needed the type of offensive performance it showcased while up against a Red Raider team that looks quite a bit different than the one that reached the national semifinals last season. The Bulldog starters were up to the task. Barry went 8-for-13 from the floor and led the way with 18 points, Lammers made 8-of-12 shot attempts and put up 17 points while Riley Sibbel drilled 3-of-5 from 3-point range and totaled 15 points.

Barry and the Dawgs sealed the deal in the fourth quarter by building the lead to as many as 19 points. It mostly an anticlimactic finish. Northwestern (10-3, 5-3 GPAC) never got any closer than 15 points over the final eight minutes of play. Though Concordia allowed the Red Raiders to hover near 50 percent shooting, it held standout Sammy Blum to 4-for-15 shooting. As a team, Northwestern went just 6-for-23 from 3-point range.

Olson relied mostly on his starting five, each of whom played 26 or more minutes. However, MacKenzie Helman and Rebecca Higgins added eight points apiece. Both knocked down two treys. Mackenzie Koepke was especially hot in the first half and totaled 13 points while making four 3-point field goals. Barry spurred the attack with nine assists.

Olson had plenty of praise to go around afterwards. Koepke provided a lift early and Sibbel went wild for 10 points in the four quarter. Taryn Schuette also had a personal 5-0 run at one point. Meanwhile, Colby Duvel paced the team with seven rebounds. Concordia’s turnover advantage was a fairly modest plus-five. The top scorer for Northwestern was Alexis Toering with 16 points.

Lammers continues to push her way up the program’s all-time lists. She entered the night ranked fifth in program history in points, rebounds and steals. On Thursday evening, she passed both Quinn Wragge (1,776) and Kari Saving (1,773) on the scoring list. Lammers’ career point total now stands at 1,786.

The Red Raiders graduated three senior starters from last season’s team that shared the GPAC regular-season title with the Bulldogs. They remain solid behind the likes of Blum and a trio of sophomores that have made their way into the starting lineup.

Another showdown looms on Saturday when Concordia will host sixth-ranked Dordt (14-2, 6-2 GPAC) at 2 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs and Defenders split their two meetings last season with the home team winning in each instance. Concordia also has a date with fourth-ranked Hastings coming up on Jan. 8.

Millard West products lead bounce back in Florida

LAKELAND, Fla. – Twenty-four hours after suffering its first loss of the season, the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team looked more like itself. The Bulldogs made 7-of-11 shots from 3-point range in the opening quarter on Saturday (Dec. 21) and rode that dominant first 10 minutes to a 97-55 win over William Carey University (Miss.). The victory came on day two of the Southeastern University Christmas Invitational in Lakeland, Fla.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad will return to Nebraska with a 12-1 overall record. No. 2 Southeastern put the one blemish on Concordia’s record in Friday’s action in Lakeland.

“We did play a little bit better (than Friday),” Olson said. “As for the things we are trying to work on defensively, we were a little bit better at them. It was not the same type of opponent. We know that we still have a lot of things to improve upon. We’re excited to get to work when we get back from the break.”

The Crusaders (4-7) did not push the Bulldogs for long – at all. Concordia raced out to a 17-2 advantage and kept William Carey distantly in the rearview mirror. Less than five minutes into the contest, sophomore Mackenzie Koepke had already drilled two treys. Soon after, freshman Taylor Farrell took it from there.

A Millard West High School product, just like All-American teammate Philly Lammers, Farrell is basically in range from beyond the arc when stepping past half court. Farrell drained 4-of-6 3-point field goals on her way to a career high 18 points. As a team, Concordia cooled off from long range after the first quarter, but it still managed to net 13 treys.

“She’s just playing really confidently,” Olson said of Farrell. “She’s giving us something that we’ve kind of been missing the last few games. We need to find more shooters.”

Lammers had a fine day in her 18 minutes of action. She posted a double-double that featured 12 points and 12 rebounds. Off the bench, sophomore Claire Cornell recorded 10 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Elsie Aslesen notched nine points in 11 minutes. Grace Barry dished out four assists. Delani Fahey (nine), Colby Duvel (eight) and Riley Sibbel (eight) were also close to reaching double figures in scoring. Thirteen different Bulldogs registered in the scoring column.

Concordia held William Carey to 17.1 percent (6-for-35) shooting in the first half and 28.8 percent (19-for-66) shooting for the game. In defeat, the Crusaders got a starring performance off the bench from Rebekah Engle, who paced her side with 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting. William Carey kept its turnovers in check with 24.

The 2019-20 season, as well as GPAC play, will resume after New Year’s with a trip to No. 12 Northwestern (10-2, 5-2 GPAC) coming up on Thursday, Jan. 2. Tipoff from Orange City, Iowa, on that date is set for 6 p.m. CT.

Win streak extinguished at The Furnace

LAKELAND, Fla. – In another rematch of the 2019 national championship game, the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team could not crack No. 2 Southeastern University (Fla.)’s stifling man-to-man defense. The Bulldogs shot 30 percent from the floor while falling on Friday (Dec. 20), 97-72, at The Furnace in Lakeland, Fla., home to the Fire. Physically imposing Southeastern owned a 62-29 advantage on the boards.

The loss snapped a 23-game win streak for 14th-year head coach Drew Olson’s program. The Bulldogs are now 11-1 overall while in the middle of their stay in The Sunshine State.

“I hope we’ve learned some things on how we need to get better as a whole,” Olson said. “I think we have learned some things in terms of what we need to do better if we play them again. I just thought that was two great teams and one played poorly and the other played really well.”

Concordia had beaten Southeastern three times since the start of the 2018-19 season. Those meetings included the national championship tilt back in March. This time around, the Fire dominated behind a defensive tenacity that has made it one of the nation’s top-ranked squad in terms of both scoring defense and field goal percentage defense. Taylah Simmons (game high 22 points and 12 rebounds) and company were much better on both ends.

A glimmer of hope came in the third quarter when a 10-2 Bulldog run cut the deficit to 11 (49-38) at the 5:21 mark. Philly Lammers initiated that spurt with a layup and MacKenzie Helman capped it by draining a trey. Helman put together a solid day that included 10 points and 2-for-4 shooting from 3-point range. Meanwhile, Lammers paced the team with 14 points and six rebounds. Rebecca Higgins added 10 points and made both of her 3-point tries.

After absorbing that aforementioned third-quarter run, Southeastern (13-2) put its foot on the accelerator and never let off. The Fire used primarily six players while aiming to ensure it wouldn’t let this one get away. In a battle of big-time point guards, senior Eliza West impressed by dropping 16 dimes to go along with 12 points. Raegan Linster poured in 21 points, M’caela Sellers added 19 points and Marlena Schmidt (11 points and 12 rebounds) notched a double-double.

During the tenure of head coach Tim Hays, now is his fourth year at Southeastern, two of the four regular-season Fire losses have come at the hands of Concordia. Earlier this season, the Bulldogs edged Hays’ squad, 63-62, in overtime in Point Lookout, Mo. Southeastern was ready for this one.

“You could feel it that the game meant a lot to them,” Olson said. “It showed. They had a lot more focus and toughness. That’s something we’ve got to get better at.”

The 72 points scored by Concordia was actually the most allowed this season by Southeastern. On the other hand, the Bulldogs had not surrendered more than 77 points prior to Friday’s contest.

The Southeastern Christmas Invitational will continue on Saturday with the Bulldogs taking on William Carey University (Miss.) (4-5) at 3 p.m. CT (4 p.m. ET). The Crusaders compete as a member of the Southern States Athletic Conference (NAIA Division I).

Top-ranked Dawgs force 43 turnovers, pull away from Lancers

YANKTON, S.D. – The top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team went just 7-for-32 from 3-point range on Saturday (Dec. 14) afternoon, but it packed its usual tenacious defense on the road. The Bulldogs forced 43 turnovers while handling host Mount Marty, 80-50, inside Laddie E. Cimpl Arena in Yankton, S.D. Philly Lammers helped fuel the victory with 21 points and seven rebounds.

Head coach Drew Olson’s program has won 23-straight games and is unbeaten at 11-0 (7-0 GPAC) on the season.

“That’s something we talk about is there are going to be some days where we struggle and don’t shoot the ball as well,” Olson said. “We have to make sure our defense is there every single night. Our kids come to play hard and they fly around and cause a lot of havoc. Thankfully that was able to generate points for us when we were struggling in the half court.”

This turned into a workmanlike road performance for Concordia, which battled through its early shooting struggles to make this one a runaway. The key stretch came in the second quarter when Grace Barry spurred a 20-5 surge to close the first half. The Bulldogs led 39-21 at that point. For Mount Marty, there was no overcoming its minus-34 turnover margin. The takeaways allowed Concordia to fire off 47 more shots than the Lancers (6-5, 2-5 GPAC).

Lammers and company put the foot on the accelerator in the fourth quarter when they found an offensive groove. They outscored Mount Marty 25-13 in the final stanza that included one particularly nifty post move and finish from Lammers. The duo of Philly and Grace has been dynamic. Barry carried the team offensively during parts of the first half and finished with 15 points on 7-for-16 shooting from the floor.

“She was definitely a bright spot for us,” Olson said of Lammers. “I just liked her attack better today. She didn’t fade from the basket. She went after it and got layups. She had a really good game.”

The bench was highly involved in the action once again. Taylor Farrell put up nine points while knocking down a pair of treys. Meanwhile, Elsie Alsesen and Rylee Pauli both contributed six points and four rebounds. Pauli added five steals while defensive pest Riley Sibbel plucked four thefts. The Bulldogs outnumbered the Lancers in bench scoring, 35-15.

Mount Marty shot a very respectable 47.4 percent (18-for-38) from the floor, but just didn’t get enough shots due to the turnovers (three Lancer players had eight or more turnovers). Kayla Jacobson (3-for-3 from beyond the arc) notched 12 points and was the lone Lancer in double figures. Mount Marty has dropped each of the last seven meetings with Concordia.

Warmer weather is on the horizon for the Bulldogs, who now look forward to the Southeastern University Classic (Dec. 20-21) in Lakeland, Fla. On the opening day of the event, Concordia will take on host and second-ranked Southeastern (10-2) in another rematch of last season’s national championship game. Earlier this season, the Bulldog eked past the Fire, 63-62, in overtime in Point Lookout, Mo., on Oct. 26.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Olson said. “We want to challenge our kids and we knew Southeastern was going to be really good again this year. We’ll definitely enjoy some time on the beach and some other activities.”

Barry records triple-double in win at No. 7 Morningside

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – In its first true road outing of the season, the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team received plenty of pushback from seventh-ranked Morningside. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 12-0 lead and exercised control most of the way while directed by Amazing Grace Barry. Concordia tagged the Mustangs with their second home loss in an 88-77 decision in Sioux City, Iowa, on Wednesday (Dec. 11).

An 11-point margin qualifies as a nail-biter for 14th-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad, which entered play averaging more than 100 points per game. Dating back to last season, the Bulldogs (10-0, 6-0 GPAC) have won 22-straight games.

“Morningside did some really nice things against us, but I’m just proud of how resilient we are,” Olson said. “We didn’t have our best game and our bench has had better days. We had some good toughness to withstand them and had some kids step up when we needed it. We were just tough enough and experienced enough to find the plays we needed to keep that lead.”

Barry has become something to behold in her time wearing the navy and white. The Lincoln East High School product accomplished a rare feat on Wednesday by turning in a triple-double: 20 points, 10 assists and 10 steals. Whenever Morningside seemed poised to make a run, Barry crushed those hopes with her play on both ends. On more than one occasion, Barry picked off a Mustang in-bounds pass and finished with a layup.

Though Morningside struggled with Barry, it actually avoided many of the pitfalls that have devastated Concordia opponents this season. Morningside limited its turnovers to 22 and at times gave the Bulldogs some fits with its zone defense. Sydney Hupp (team high 16 points) and the Mustangs missed their chance to really make a move during a third quarter that saw the Bulldogs score only 14 points. Concordia held a lead of at least eight points the entire second half.

Not since the 63-62 overtime win over No. 2 Southeastern University (Fla.) had the starting lineup been stressed like this. Barry played 36 minutes while notching the triple-double. All-American Philly Lammers logged 33 minutes and put up 19 points and nine rebounds in another strong outing. The other three starters also scored in double figures: Mackenzie Koepke (15; 5-for-10 from 3-point range), Colby Duvel (13) and Riley Sibbel (11).

After a rough finish to last season, Morningside (8-3, 5-2 GPAC) has recovered nicely under head coach Jamie Sale. Hupp, Sierra Mitchell and Sophia Peppers are the standouts for a group with enough depth to give the Bulldogs a run for their money. Peppers added 15 points and Taylor Rodenburgh chipped in 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. The Mustangs owned a 42-35 rebound edge, but were slightly outshot, 47.8 to 46.2 percent, from the floor. Mitchell was held to eight points while mostly guarded by Sibbel.

More than anything on this night, Barry was too much. Said Olson, “She was fantastic. She controlled the pace of the game. She was a big playmaker. She created shots for herself, got others involved and came up with some really big steals when we needed it. She was definitely a big key to us winning.”

The final GPAC game prior to Christmas/New Year’s will take place Saturday when the Bulldogs will be in Yankton, S.D., for a 2 p.m. CT tipoff at Mount Marty (6-4, 2-4 GPAC). Concordia has won each of the last six meetings with the Lancers. The Bulldogs got a push last season in Yankton when they prevailed by a 66-55 final score.

Early 17-point deficit fails to faze undefeated Dawgs

SEWARD, Neb. – The challenge the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team received on Saturday (Dec. 7) figures to serve it well as it pursues another special season. The Bulldogs found themselves trailing by 17 points in the opening quarter while hosting fierce rival and 13th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan. Concordia’s press eventually wore on the Tigers in what amounted to a 100-72 win for the home team.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s program has won for the 57th time in its last 58 home games. The Bulldogs remain undefeated at 9-0 (5-0 GPAC).

“I was really proud of our kids for how we responded,” Olson said. “That first quarter it felt like they hit a whole bunch of shots. Defensively we weren’t very good and I thought we kind of panicked for a little bit. After the first quarter we regrouped and got our composure back. We played really good basketball for three quarters.”

This game featured a 46-point swing from Dakota Wesleyan’s sizeable early lead to Concordia’s largest advantage of 29 points. If ever there would be a game where the Tigers (8-3, 3-3 GPAC) would feel the graduation of former point guard Rylie Osthus, this was it. The Bulldogs shot a rough 5-for-22 from the floor in the first quarter, but the havoc they created (41 turnovers) made life miserable for Dakota Wesleyan.

It would have been hard to forecast such a rout when the Tigers made such considerable noise in the opening quarter. They also took a 43-42 lead to halftime after star Kynedi Cheeseman drilled a long buzzer beater. Things unraveled quickly for the visitors in the third quarter. A key sequence came when Concordia converted two turnovers into a trey apiece from Mackenzie Koepke and Riley Sibbel to make it a 62-51 advantage. The Bulldogs held a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Concordia certainly had the better of the point guard play with Grace Barry again wowing the crowd. She added to her highlight reel with a behind-the-back feed to Philly Lammers on the break as part of the onslaught after halftime. Barry finished with a game high 18 points while adding five assists and two steals. Lammers (13 points and nine rebounds) just missed a double-double and swiped four steals.

“We got a little frantic in that first quarter,” Barry said. “We came together as a team and talked about what we wanted to do on defense and what we needed to do on offense. We just settled down and played our game and that was such a big difference from that second quarter and the rest of the game.”

The score over the final three quarters was Concordia 88, Dakota Wesleyan 45. That meant the fourth quarter turned into a battle of the benches – and the Bulldogs don’t lose that battle. Concordia got 42 points from its reserves, including eight from Delani Fahey. Chloe Schumacher sank two free throws in the final seconds to put the Bulldogs right at the century mark – something they have achieved seven times this season.

Mackenzie Koepke (11 points, 3-for-5 from 3-point range) represented Concordia’s third double-figure scorer. On the other side, Cheeseman topped the Tigers with 17 points. She also was tagged with eight turnovers. Matti Reiner came off the bench to chip in 15 points.

Barry and company remain intensely motivated even after winning a national title back in March. Says Barry, “I think the No. 1 thing is we all love each other and we have a really awesome family dynamic. The second thing is we just love to win. We love winning we love playing together.”

The Bulldogs will be on the road on Wednesday for a makeup game at No. 8 Morningside (8-2, 5-1 GPAC). Tipoff from the Rosen Verdoorn Sports Center in Sioux City, Iowa, is set for 6 p.m. CT. The lone Mustang loss within conference play came at home against now sixth-ranked Hastings.

Top-ranked Concordia outclasses Doane

SEWARD, Neb. – The mismatch that appeared on paper played out on the court on Wednesday (Dec. 4) as the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team returned to action for the first time since Nov. 23. The latest result was another staggering blowout as the Bulldogs bullied rival Doane, 110-47, inside Walz Arena. Concordia is 57-1 over its last 58 home games.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad remains unbeaten at 8-0 (4-0 GPAC) heading into a pair of clashes against ranked conference foes.

“I thought we were pretty efficient offensively and moved the ball really well,” Olson said. “We just played good team basketball. I thought Elsie (Aslesen) had a good, aggressive mindset. Philly (Lammers) also played really well along with people like Chloe Schumacher (four points and three rebounds), Rylee Pauli and Taryn Schuette.”

From Concordia’s perspective, this one looked about how they expected it to look. The pressure of the Bulldogs caused 40 turnovers and limited the Tigers to 31.0 percent shooting. A modest 6-4 early lead for Concordia gave way to a commanding 53-10 halftime advantage. Before resting much of the fourth period, reigning GPAC Player of the Year Philly Lammers notched 20 points and seven rebounds on 10-for-16 shooting from the floor.

As has become the usual this season, plenty of opportunities surfaced for players up and down the roster. Aslesen took advantage and collected 19 points (8-for-13 from the floor) and six rebounds off the bench. Many Bulldogs were the beneficiary of dimes dropped by Grace Barry (seven assists) and MacKenzie Helman (nine assists). Barry and Schuette added 10 points apiece.

Concordia eclipsed the 100-point mark for the sixth time already this season. This may sound like a broken record, but the Bulldogs were balanced again. Eleven players put up four points or more. Also off the bench, Taylor Farrell and Pauli registered eight points apiece and Claire Cornell and Rebecca Higgins both chipped in six points. Colby Duvel also had six points for a Bulldog team that shot 53.3 percent from the floor.

Doane (1-8, 0-4 GPAC) will continue on this season without the head coach that it began the year with. Ryan Baumgartner now serves as interim head coach. Freshman Halle Konz topped the Tigers with 12 points (6-for-7 from the floor). Doane had just earned its first win of the season this past weekend, 65-56, over Haskell Indian Nations University (Kan.).

The Bulldogs will remain at home to host 13th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan (8-2, 3-2 GPAC) at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday. The two powerhouse programs have met in each of the last three GPAC tournament championship games. Concordia has won seven of the past eight series matchups, including all three last season.

Bulldogs put up school record 127 in scorching of Flames

SEWARD, Neb. – The contest that unfolded on Wednesday (Nov. 20) turned into a patented Concordia University women’s basketball blowout. The top-ranked Bulldogs rattled off the game’s first 11 points and put the game out of reach early while up against visiting College of Saint Mary. The Flames were flustered into 37 turnovers in what amounted to a 127-51 final score. The point total re-broke the school record that had been set earlier this season.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad cracked the 100-point mark for the fifth time in seven outings. Only one opponent has challenged Concordia on the way to its 7-0 start (3-0 GPAC).

Said game high scorer Elsie Aslesen, “It’s just awesome. I love playing for this team because so many different people step up all the time. Just the diversity in our team makes us really tough to guard. I feel like teams have a really hard time preparing for us because you never know who is going to go off.”

It’s been a 15-person party just about every time out for the Bulldogs, who had 12 players notch seven or more points for the evening. Senior Riley Sibbel had the hot hand in the opening half when all 12 of her points went on the board. Plenty of others took their turn. Concordia very nearly reached 100 points before the third quarter concluded.

Insert your own superlative here about the crazy scoring totals that keep lighting up the scoreboard for the defending national champs. No team in program history has ever averaged more than 87.1 points per game in a season. Challenging GPAC matchups lie in wait, but this is something else. The Bulldogs have thrived despite Taylor Cockerill’s absence by deploying their tremendous depth.

What has made this Concordia so devastating, beyond its usual press and frenetic pace, has been its shooting. The Bulldogs went 15-for-40 (.375) from 3-point range on Wednesday. Players like freshman Taylor Farrell are unafraid of chucking it from very deep. On this particular night, Delani Fahey and Mackenzie Koepke both knocked down three treys.

The 12 Concordia players with seven or more points were: Aslesen (14), Philly Lammers (13), Grace Barry (11), Sibbel (12), Farrell (10), Koepke (10), Claire Cornell (nine), Fahey (nine), Colby Duvel (eight), Rylee Pauli (eight), Averie Lambrecht (seven) and Taryn Schuette (seven). Barry dished out eight assists and swiped four steals while Cornell paced the squad with seven rebounds. The Bulldogs owned a 56-41 advantage on the boards.

College of Saint Mary (1-6, 0-3 GPAC) shot just 28.1 percent (18-for-64) from the floor. The Flames did not have a double-figure scorer – Kenzi Hoit and Trista Merrival had nine apiece.

Concordia has remained focused and motivated during this stretch of lopsided wins. Said Aslesen, “It’s just the love to play basketball. We have fun doing it whether we win or lose.”

The Bulldogs will break from regular-season action for an exhibition contest on Saturday at NCAA Division II Metropolitan State University of Denver (0-4). Tipoff time is set for 1 p.m. MT / 2 p.m. CT. GPAC play will continue next Tuesday (Nov. 26) with a matchup at No. 19 Morningside (6-1, 3-0 GPAC).

Another foe run ragged

SEWARD, Neb. – Let us take a moment to again marvel at the depth of talent within the Concordia University women’s program. The top-ranked Bulldogs absorbed Briar Cliff’s best shot in the opening quarter and eventually turned Saturday afternoon (Nov. 16)’s affair into another runaway victory. Concordia drained 19 3-point field goals in what amounted to a 113-59 destruction of the Chargers inside Walz Arena.

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has reached the 100-point mark for the fourth time this season. The Bulldogs remain undefeated at 6-0 (2-0 GPAC).

“I thought Briar Cliff was great the first half. They played really well,” Olson said. “They handled the pressure, they hit some shots and they even had the lead a couple times in that first half. It was good for our kids to get challenged. I thought they responded really well in the second half.”

Briar Cliff (1-4, 0-1 GPAC) did not appear at all intimidated in the early going. Alyssa Carley knocked in a 3-point shot in the final minute of the first quarter to provide her side a 21-20 lead after one period. Concordia then took a somewhat modest (by its standards) 14-point lead to halftime. Unfortunately for the visitors, the triples that weren’t falling for the Bulldogs (2-for-20 in the first quarter from beyond the arc) started pouring in at a dizzying rate.

Concordia racked up 65 points in the second half while spreading the production up and down the roster. Six Bulldogs scored in double figures: Taylor Farrell (14), Delani Fahey (13), Taryn Schuette (12), Grace Barry (11), Philly Lammers (11) and Claire Cornell (10). Cornell had all of her points in the first half in combatting the early energy brought to town by the Chargers.

As if Concordia really needed another weapon, Farrell emerged on Saturday. The Millard West High School product canned 4-of-6 tries from long range – emphasis on the word ‘long.’ That’s not by accident. Farrell has been working on chucking it from the cheap seats.

“My teammates knew I was on and they got me the ball as best as they could,” Farrell said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. I just knew I needed to step up and hit shots.”

Farrell, Fahey (4-for-9) and Schuette (4-for-9) each knocked down four 3-point field goals. Despite the early offensive struggles, the Bulldogs wound up shooting 46.6 percent (41-for-88) from the field and 35.2 percent (19-for-54) from beyond the arc. Concordia had plenty of opportunities for extra shots by way of forcing 40 turnovers and grabbing 18 offensive boards.

Throughout the second half, the Bulldog ball movement was superb. Barry collected nine assists while just missing a double-double. MacKenzie Helman dropped eight dimes and Rylee Pauli dished out four assists. In a hyper up-tempo game, Concordia had only 15 turnovers.

The numbers have been downright silly so far. The Bulldogs have won games already this season by margins of 57, 78, 61 and 54, respectively. This stretch has allowed Olson to see the entire roster for extended minutes.

“We’re learning a few things with X’s and O’s and also the mental approach of coming into every game,” Olson said. “It’s good for us and hopefully we keep getting better.”

The Bulldogs will be at home for the fifth-straight outing when they host College of Saint Mary (1-5, 0-2 GPAC) at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Concordia won both of last season’s meetings with the Flames by comfortable margins – 88-55 in Omaha and 95-51 in Seward. College of Saint Mary has dropped GPAC games against No. 19 Morningside and No. 11 Northwestern to begin this season.

Top-ranked Concordia wears out No. 9 St. Francis

SEWARD, Neb. – Some teams have depth and then there’s this Concordia University women’s basketball squad. Because the Bulldogs go 15 deep in quality personnel, blowouts can morph into even uglier blowouts. That’s what happened on Saturday (Nov. 2) afternoon when the top-ranked Bulldogs left ninth-ranked University of St. Francis (Ill.) in the dust by a 107-46 final score. This marked the second and final day of the 20th annual Cattle Classic.

Through four games, 14th-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has impressively followed up its national championship season. Concordia (4-0) owns three wins over opponents ranked 12th or higher in the NAIA Division II poll.

“That’s obviously a huge strength of our group,” Olson said of his team’s depth. “I’m just really impressed with how well we play together. We’re really moving the ball well and confidently knocking down shots. Defensively we disrupted a lot of things their posts wanted to do. It shows that one through 15 we’ve got a really good group.”

What the Bulldogs did was annihilate the team that annihilated Doane a day earlier. Blink and you might miss a 10-0 splurge from Concordia. In this case, a 24-3 run to open up the second quarter defined the game. Sophomore sharpshooter Delani Fahey netted 11 of the final 13 points of that outburst in an impressive two-minute display. At that point, the Bulldogs owned a 46-16 lead. Concordia’s lead never dipped below 21 points the rest of the way.

The only Fighting Saint to make a dent offensively was star player Kaitlin Aylward, who put home 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field. The rest of the team scored a combined 26 points and went 7-for-40 from the floor. To compound matters for St. Francis (1-1), it was minus-16 in turnovers (34-18) and minus-10 (42-32) in rebounding.

When it became a battle of the benches, Concordia opened up a crater-sized advantage. The waves the Bulldogs can bring it teams often wears them down. Said Fahey, “I think our unity is really good and everyone just comes to play every day.”

Named to the All-Cattle Classic Team along with Fahey, point guard Grace Barry is putting up some impressive numbers in minutes limited due to the blowouts. She posted 12 points, seven assists and three steals while controlling play during her 20 minutes of action on Saturday. The double figure scorers, in addition to Barry and Fahey, were Mackenzie Koepke (14), Colby Duvel (11) and Philly Lammers (11).

All five starters also had at least three steals apiece. Rylee Pauli contributed nine points while Taryn Schuette grabbed six rebounds.

“The real cool part is they know each other’s strengths,” Olson said. “They really play to that and they keep setting each other up to succeed. That’s a good sign for our team.”

The Bulldogs will now have an extended break in the schedule before opening up conference play at home on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Midland (1-2) will be the opponent in a contest set to tip off at 6 p.m. CT. Last season Concordia defeated the Warriors by scores of 83-65 (Fremont) and 84-74 (Seward).


Kaitlin Aylward, St. Francis

Grace Barry, Concordia

Delani Fahey, Concordia

Tayla Nulty, Doane

Alli Ramelli, Simpson

All Dawgs contribute in 123-point Cattle Classic outburst

SEWARD, Neb. – Dominant would be an understatement. The top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team just about pitched a shutout in the opening quarter while rattling off the first 37 points of the opening evening at the 20th annual Cattle Classic. The Bulldogs forced 20 Simpson University (Calif.) first-quarter turnovers and coasted to a 123-45 victory on Friday (Nov. 1).

Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s program has become accustomed to overwhelming overmatched foes. It was clear very early in the night that Concordia was about to move its record to 3-0.

Amazing Grace Barry poured in 15 points in the first 10 minutes and was, at one point, tying her shoelace in the middle of play. That pretty much summed up how this one went. It’s hard to win a track meet against a deep roster and talented roster like the one the Bulldogs possess. The script was essentially to cause havoc defensively, score in transition and repeat. Simpson did not score a single point until the final few seconds of the opening quarter.

As one would expect with the lopsided nature of the game, it became a showcase for Concordia’s reserves. Plenty of them took advantage of the opportunity. Off the bench, Claire Cornell (13), Delani Fahey (11) and Taylor Farrell (11) each reached double figures in scoring while Rylee Pauli and Taryn Schuette swiped four steals apiece. Collectively, the Bulldogs knocked in 16 3-point field goals.

“Everyone contributed and I think that’s what made it more fun,” Cornell said. “We were able to get the first, second and third string out there and you could really see how practiced carried over into the game. Everything just worked really well.”

It was a mostly restful night for the starting five – none of which played more than 11 minutes. Among them, Colby Duvel (11) and Mackenzie Koepke (10) joined Barry with at least 10 points. Barry converted 7-of-8 shot attempts and added three assists and a pair of steals. Philly Lammers collected eight points, five rebounds and four steals. Eleven players in white jerseys notched eight or more points.

The Red Hawks (0-3) came all the way from Redding, Calif., to be part of the Cattle Classic. A member of the NAIA’s California Pacific Conference, Simpson went 18-12 overall in 2018-19. Ellie Hamel’s 11 points led the way for the visitors on Friday. They will get another shot at a GPAC foe on Saturday when they take on Doane (0-2).

The 123 points are believed to be a school single-game record. The previous high noted in available data was 121 points in a 121-72 victory over Johnson & Wales (Colo.) at the 2012 Cattle Classic.

The Bulldogs will return to action to close the second day of the Cattle Classic in what will be a matchup of top 10 teams. Concordia and ninth-ranked University of St. Francis (Ill.) will tip off at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday. In their first game of the weekend, the Fighting Saints (1-0) routed Doane, 80-42.

Lammers delivers game winner in national title rematch

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – A game that once saw the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team lead by 22 points turned into a grinder. The rematch of the 2019 NAIA Division II national championship that took place on Saturday (Oct. 26) required overtime to decide the outcome. Ultimately, Philly Lammers’ jumper with 29 seconds left in the extra period provided the winning margin in a 63-62 squeaker over second-ranked Southeastern University (Fla.).

The two NAIA powers convened inside Keeter Gymnasium in Point Lookout, Mo., for the championship of this weekend’s College of the Ozarks Classic. Head coach Drew Olson’s squad opened the 2019-20 season on Friday with a 107-50 win over No. 12 Sterling College (Kan.).

“I don’t think either team played their best, but I think both teams played really, really hard,” Olson said of Saturday’s clash. “I’m really proud of our players for gutting one out because it wasn’t pretty. We did not shoot well and we didn’t run a good offense for the majority of the second half. We even lost the lead a couple times. We stepped up and hit some shots when we needed it and stepped up and got some stops when we needed it.”

It may have been ugly offensively for most of the afternoon, but the overtime session supplied some entertaining back-and-forth action. There were seven lead changes during the five-minute extra session. With just over a minute remaining, Grace Barry dropped in a floater for a 61-60 lead. The Fire quickly answered with a M’caela Sellers bucket. Lammers then followed with the decisive tallies before Southeastern came up empty with one more crack at it.

Concordia was forced to rally from a 53-49 deficit in the final minute of regulation. A critical play occurred when the Fire failed to get the ball in bounds when it led, 53-52, with five seconds remaining. Mackenzie Koepke proceeded to make 1-of-2 free throws to necessitate overtime.

Southeastern (1-1) has a lot of new faces compared to its team that met the Bulldogs in the national championship game in March. Head coach Tim Hays has re-stocked with another squad capable of making a deep run in 2020. His team showed resilience in bouncing back from a miserable 6-for-36 (.167) shooting performance in the first half on Saturday.

“They’re a better team than last year,” Olson said. “They’re more dynamic with quicker guards. They’re longer with good athletes. That was a really good win.”

Concordia was only slightly better offensively. It outshot the Fire, 32.9 to 27.2 percent. Lammers notched a double-double with 19 points (game high) and 10 rebounds. While making the start, Koepke posted 14 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Barry put up 12 points, five steals and four rebounds. Off the bench, Taryn Schuette added eight points (2-for-4 from 3-point range).

Southeastern was topped by the 16 points from Raegan Linster. Taylah Simmons recorded 12 points and 13 rebounds. The Fire enjoyed a big advantage on the boards, 70-48. Its 31 offensive rebounds helped it hang tight despite the offensive woes that played a role in the Bulldogs constructing a 36-14 lead in the third quarter.

Next up is the 20th annual Cattle Classic to be staged inside Walz Arena. Concordia will make its home debut on Friday, Nov. 1 in a matchup with Simpson University (Calif.).

Top-ranked Concordia steamrolls No. 12 Sterling in opener

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – This time it was for real. The top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team earned additional street cred in a double overtime exhibition loss at Big East member Creighton University on Tuesday, but it has moved on. Three days later, the defending national champions steamrolled 12th-ranked Sterling College (Kan.), 107-50, in a neutral court matchup inside Keeter Gymnasium in Point Lookout, Mo.

All 15 Bulldogs who made the trip registered in the scoring column for head coach Drew Olson’s squad. The win over Sterling marked day one of two at the weekend classic hosted by College of the Ozarks.

“I really was impressed with our bench group,” Olson said. “Our second and our third line was just really effective and did a great job moving the ball and hitting the open player. They stepped up and did a great job. It was really fun to watch.”

Fun to watch but maybe not so fun to play against. All fifteen Bulldogs who traveled scored points and made life miserable for the Warriors, who were tagged with 43 turnovers. The bench combined for 74 points in an ultra-balanced attack. Concordia’s top four scorers were all reserves: Taryn Schuette (12), Delani Fahey (11), Elsie Aslesen (10) and Rebecca Higgins (9). Together they helped the Bulldogs devastate Sterling from 3-point range, where they were 16-for-35 (.457).

Concordia players with multiple 3-point field goals included Higgins (3-for-4), Fahey (3-for-5), Aslesen (2-for-3), Mackenzie Koepke (2-for-3), MacKenzie Helman (2-for-4) and Schuette (2-for-4). Nine different Bulldogs also pilfered two or more steals, led by Grace Barry’s five thefts. Taylor Farrell and Riley Sibbel came away with four steals apiece.

Olson and his team are just beginning to adjust without 2018-19 leading scorer Taylor Cockerill, who was forced out of the game at Creighton in the third quarter. Koepke moved into the starting lineup in her place on Friday. Freshman Averie Lambrecht also joined the varsity roster and wore No. 3.

“It’s still kind of a work-in-progress,” Olson said. “A lot of other players are taking advantage of the opportunity to get more minutes to help the team. In terms of who we are as a team, we’re still trying to figure out how to fill that hole. Nobody’s going to be able to do what Taylor did, but we have to figure out as a team how we’re going to be just as effective.”

Sterling is the highest rated team from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and a 2019 national qualifier. Concordia managed to hold reigning KCAC Player of the Year Kylah Comley to 2-for-9 shooting from the field (six turnovers). Bailey Bangert topped the Warriors with 16 points. All five Sterling starters turned the ball over five or more times.

As part of this weekend’s tournament, the Bulldogs will return to action on Saturday and go up against a fellow NAIA power in either No. 2 Southeastern University (Fla.) or No. 3 College of the Ozarks. Those two sides were still in action as of Friday night, jockeying for a spot in Saturday’s championship game, which will tip off at 3 p.m. CT from Keeter Gymnasium.

It will be an early season showdown in the Show Me State. “Both teams are tough challenges,” Olson said. “They’re really fast. I’m interested to see how our kids respond against a really good team.”