Photo Courtesy of @cunebulldogs
By Elisha Meyer
In a contest of few points, Riley Sibbel scored 20 first-half points as part of a 26-point performance to highlight a big win for Concordia University on Saturday over the sixth-ranked Dordt University Defenders 69-55.
The Bulldogs came into the matchup looking for back-to-back wins against top 25 teams after shutting down twelvth-ranked Northwestern College 97-81 just two days prior. Now back in Seward, the Bulldogs looked to remain unbeaten (7-0) on the Walz Arena floor.
Both offenses struggled throughout the game, with neither team quite reached its full potential. An unusually slow start on the offensive side of the ball plagued both teams throughout much of the first quarter. After Sibbel hit the first shot of the game to put Concordia up 2-0, Concordia would only go 1-11 from the field in the next five minutes.
Dordt made more of an impact on offense to start, if you could really call it that. Dordt would build a 7-4 lead midway through the quarter, but would have the same shooting difficulties, barely making above 20% of shots from the floor.
The second quarter spotlighted the individual performance of Riley Sibbel. Not typically one of the Bulldogs’ top scorers, SIbbel reeled in a total of 20 points in the half, shooting a ridiculous 80% from the floor. The mark obliterated her previous career high of 15 points in a game. While a Grace Berry layup finished the scoring with four seconds to go in the half, Sibbel had done more than her share of the scoring to give the Bulldogs an eleven-point lead at halftime.
The Defenders had different ideas about how the game would end, as the offense finally exploded to start the fourth quarter, hitting the first five field goals on a torrid 10-0 run to give the Defenders the lead for the first time since leading 7-4. Leading the Defenders offensive effort was Ebby Prewitt with 13 points and six rebounds on the afternoon. Prewitt would be the only player to break double-digits on the afternoon, including Erika Freenstra, who came into the contest ranked fifth nationally in points per game.
The Defenders’ effort would be for naught in the end, as the Bulldogs finally pulled away in the final minutes of the contest. Sibbel would finish her career-best performance with 26 points making two-thirds of her shots. Barry also turned in a remarkable afternoon, recording a near double-double performance with 16 points and nine assists. Philomena Lammers, who only hit one field goal on the afternoon, would lead the team in rebounds with eight.
Despite the loss, Dordt University will continue to work on what could be the program’s best season on record. With an impressive record of 14-3, with all losses coming to top 25 squads, the Defenders will look to eclipse the 20-win mark for the second season in a row as well as earn a second-straight bid to the national tournament.
The Defenders will try to get back on track on Wednesday’s matchup against the Mount Marty Lancers (8-6).
Coach Olsen’s squad won’t catch a break just yet, as the Bulldogs (14-1) will travel to Hastings College on Wednesday to take on the fourth-ranked and undefeated Mustangs (17-0).