Photo Courtesy of Lyric Allen
By Elisha Meyer
The No. 2 ranked Southeastern University Fire made their case for the number one overall ranking Friday afternoon by taking down the very team in their way, dominating the Concordia University Bulldogs 97-72.
This marks the first time the Bulldogs have lost a game since February 2nd of last season in a loss to No. 2 Northwestern College 81-75, snapping a 23-game winning streak.
The Bulldogs came into Friday’s contest a perfect 11-0 and looking to defend their top spot in the rankings. Both teams met earlier in the season at Point Lookout, MO, where the Bulldogs survived an overtime classic 63-62.
The two squads also met in last year’s NAIA national championship, where Concordia claimed its first ever title 67-59.
The first quarter was in no way pretty for the Bulldogs, falling behind early to the Fire 13-2. The Bulldogs only shot 22.2% from the floor and only made one three-pointer for the entirety of the quarter. The defensive side of the ball fell behind as well to an onslaught from Southeastern’s fast break attack. By the time the dust settled, Concordia faced a fifteen point deficit at the conclusion of the period. The half would end with the same deficit at a score of 43-28.
The Bulldogs gained some momentum in the third quarter to bring the game back to an eleven point deficit. Leading the Bulldogs on the charge was Philomena Lammers with 14 points, followed closely by MacKenzie Helman and Rebecca Higgins with ten points each. Concordia, as a team, only shot 30% from the floor and was out-rebounded 62-29. Concordia’s turnover game still held strong, but the 27 forced turnovers only resulted in 15 points.
Concordia’s hopes of climbing back into the contest were quickly extinguished, and the Fire burned Concordia for the rest of the game. Taylay Simmons turned in a 22-point performance, followed closely by Raegan Linster with 21 points and M’caela Sellers with 19 points. Four of the Fire’s five starters recorded double digit points. Eliza West recorded one of the club’s two double-double performances with 12 points and, more notably, 16 assists.
The Bulldogs (11-1) will look to get their season back on track on Saturday against William Carey University (4-5).
The Fire (13-2) will take a well-deserved rest for the remainder of 2019, but look to stay hot against Florida Memorial University (7-7) on January 4.