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Home Sports Bulldogs women’s basketball comes out on top after Warriors matchup

Photo description: Concordia junior Taysha Rushton dribbles the ball down the court as she is pursued by a Sterling player. 

Photo credit: Kayla Korb

Cohen Carpenter

Sower Staff


The Sterling College Warriors were in town for the Cattle Classic basketball tournament Friday night, where they were defeated by No. 17 ranked Concordia in the Bulldog’s first action of the season, 95-70.

The Warriors, who came into the season unranked in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics preseason coaches’ poll, quickly thundered to a lead in the opening minutes. An opening layup from Concordia junior Mackenzie Toomey was followed by a 5-0 run from Sterling that proved to be the first and final lead of the night for the Warriors.

Among the strong first quarter performances that helped quash the Warrior’s hopes early was that of freshman guard Sammy Leu. In the game’s opening frame, Leu did her best Adam Viniterrie impression – putting three points on the board left and right. The freshman drained her first four three-point attempts of the game and finished the first quarter with 14 of the Bulldogs’ 30 points, despite not starting.

Leu led the team in scoring, wrapping up the night with 20 points all-in-all, going 8-14 from the field and 4-8 from beyond the arch. “(Leu) is a great player with a lot of confidence,” said head coach Drew Olsen about the freshman, “she just came out and played, did what she’s capable of.”

Aside from Leu, there were four other Bulldogs in double digits. Junior guard Taysha Rushton, who is seeking her fourth straight selection to the All-GPAC first team, salvaged her night. Shooting just 1-7 from the field in the first half, the native Texan made four of her next nine in violent fashion, enjoying three trips to the charity stripe during the second half. Rushton finished the night with 13 points.

Aside from individual performances, the Bulldogs also turned heads as a team, as their defense remained in a press-coverage look despite leads as large as 33.

“That’s just how we play,” said coach Olsen regarding the aggressive defensive look. “We play a lot of our players… all of them are going to play how we practice and that’s what we’ll do.”

This hard-nose style of basketball did seem to pay dividends Friday night, as the Bulldogs won the turnover battle 29-9, scoring 32 points off of those turnovers.

Aside from the stifling defense, the Bulldogs also impressed on the offensive side of the court, shooting almost 30 percent from three and 41.7 percent from the field. Concordia also did a good job of keeping possession alive, with 16 of their 40 total rebounds being offensive.

The Bulldogs will be back in action Saturday afternoon for their final game of the Cattle Classic against No. 5 ranked Marian University.

“(Marian) is a really good team and they are really well coached.” said Olsen about the upcoming opponent. “We have to change a few things, just because of how talented they are, but I am really looking forward to it.”

Tip-off for the ranked-on-ranked matchup Saturday will be 2 p.m. in Friedrich Arena.

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