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Home Sports Powell surpasses 1,000 career points as Bulldogs secure solid victory over Midland,...

Junior guard Taysha Rushton (4) pursues an opponent down the court in an attempt to prevent her from catching the ball. 

Photo credit: Courtney Wright

By Cohen Carpenter


Sadie Powell got 1,000 career points and Concordia secured a second place Great Plains Athletic Conference finish in an 80-50 victory over Midland on senior night when Bulldog fans showed up in droves.

The game tipped off with Concordia boasting an all-senior lineup featuring Taysha Rushton, Mackenzie Toomey, Sadie Powell, Kendal Brigham and Hanna Spearman – a group of girls that did not take long getting on the board and establishing a lead.

Midland was able to keep the first quarter close, thanks in large part to the efforts of sophomore guard Sarah Shepard, who didn’t miss a shot in the opening frame, scoring eight of Midland’s first 12 points.

Despite the early Warriors heroics, the day seemed to be destined for the Bulldogs. Opening the second quarter with an 18-12 lead, Concordia continued to lay it on, going on a 12-4 to start the second frame and never looking back.

“It never felt like we went on a big run,” said Head Coach Drew Olsen after the game. “More times than not we are going on a 12, 14-0 run. I thought Midland did a good job. We were just consistent in our defensive approach and were making good decisions on offense – that’s how good things happen.”

By halftime, the Bulldogs boasted a 10-point lead, were outshooting the Warriors on the field and from downtown, and nine Concordia players had scored in two quarters. However, there was still a palpable tension in the air of Friedrich arena. Despite a 10-point lead that turned into a 20-point lead with 2:44 left in the third quarter, Bulldog fans were still on the edge of their seats.

Senior forward Sadie Powell came into the contest with 989 career points as a Bulldog, meaning in what could possibly be her last game as a Bulldog, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa native had the chance to achieve something that had only been accomplished by 31 other Concordia women’s basketball players through the program’s illustrious history –score 1,000 points in her career.

Seward’s collective heart rate really started to race when, late in the fourth quarter, Powell had scored nine points –just three away from the 1000 mark. Powell was looking to shoot a three, getting the milestone in style.

“We all knew it.” said Coach Olsen, “Sadie knew it, our team knew it, the coaches knew it. There was an emphasis that, ‘Hey, we got to get at least 11 for Sadie today.’ It came down to at the end, she missed the three and we knew she needed three more.”

Powell threw up a three halfway through the fourth quarter which, to the dismay of everybody in attendance, missed the mark. Coach Olsen subbed her out of the game to make sure she was fresh for the final minutes.

“We say, ‘Hey, we’re putting you back in, you basically got one shot at it.’” said Olsen, “Well, she missed it, but thankfully we got the rebound and it came right back to her. Now that’s a big shot. The pressure of it! The whole gym knows we’re trying to get her to 1,000, she knows it, and for her to be able to stick it is awesome.”

With 4:02 left in the game, Powell drained a three from the wing, cementing her name in Concordia history. Powell finished the game with 11 points, eight rebounds, and a memory she’ll cherish for a lifetime, and Seward cheered as if Concordia had just won the NBA Finals.

The large lead allowed all of the Concordia bench to see the court, with 12 Bulldogs total finishing the game with points on the board.

Leading the way was guard Taysha Rushton, the most decorated member of the senior class. Rushton finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists on 6-13 shooting from the field and 2-5 from beyond the arch.

Trailing right behind her in the scoring column were Mackinzie Toomey, Kendal Brigham and the aforementioned Powell, all seniors. They contributed 13, 11 and 11 points respectively.

With the win, Concordia cemented itself as the two-seed in the GPAC conference playoffs, guaranteeing themselves home-court advantage for the first round of the tournament this coming Wednesday, Feb. 28.

“We just have to keep getting better every day,” said Coach Olsen about what’s needed for a deep playoff push. “We are in a good spot; we have put ourselves in a good position where we get to host. It’s just a matter of continuing to have good focus and the right mindset going into each game.”

If the Bulldogs are victorious in the first round, they will play again in the semifinal round on March 2 and hopefully again in the championship game on March 5.

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