#15 Taylor Farrell takes a jump shot for a swish, gaining two points
Photo Courtesy of Olivia Dunklau
By Olivia Dunklau
The women’s basketball team triumphed over Northwestern College from Orange City, Iowa in the Great Plains Athletic Conference Quarterfinals. The Bulldogs hosted the game in Friedrich Arena and gained the win with a score of 83-70, automatically advancing them to the GPAC championship and nationals.
Taking the lead right away, the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run before the Red Raiders called for a timeout. Freshman Bailey Conrad had an assist and a three-pointer early in the first quarter. Senior Taylor Cockerill had an assist to junior Rylee Pauli for a layup right at the buzzer of the shot clock.
“It’s important to have a good start,” said Cockerill. “It builds confidence as the game continues and I think the team played amazing today.”
The Red Raiders only took the lead once with a score of 11-10. Pauli continued to score inside the paint helping to push the Bulldogs to 18-17. By the end of the first quarter, Cockerill put up a buzzer-beater layup, moving the score to 23-17. Freshman Taysha Rushton kindled her three-point shots in the second quarter hitting four of her five total three-pointer shots in the game. The defensive Bulldogs held the Red Raiders at 18 points for half of the second quarter and continued to succeed on offense. By halftime, the Bulldogs held an easy lead of 47-25.
Rushton, Cockerill and Pauli had all hit double digits in points by the third quarter. Midway through the third quarter, Rushton had a smooth assist to sophomore Kayla Luebbe. The shots fell easily for the Bulldogs. Sophomore Taylor Farrell had her own pair of threes and the Bulldogs had a solid lead of 70-48 heading into the fourth quarter.
“Everyone worked well together and it’s fun to play with such an unselfish team,” Cockerill said. “I absolutely love this team!”
The Red Raiders did make a slight comeback in the fourth quarter, going on a 15 point run. Answering back, the Bulldogs kept up defensively and offensively. Not letting the Raiders push through, the final score was 83-70 to give the Bulldogs another win. Rushton totaled 21 points and four rebounds, Cockerill with 18 points, six assists, and six rebounds and Conrad had 10 points, four assists and four rebounds.
This win advances the Bulldogs to the GPAC Championship for the fifth-straight year. This automatically qualifies the Bulldogs into the National Tournament. Coach Drew Olson leads the team into nationals for his tenth straight season and the program’s twentieth. Next, the Bulldogs will face the number one seeded Morningside College on Tuesday Mar. 2, in Sioux City, Iowa.