Photo Courtesy of Sower Staff
By Olivia Dunklau
Concordia’s Women Basketball team played their first game of the season in the Cattle Classic on Thursday. The team sadly fell to the tough Dakota State Trojans with a score of 94-82.
The Cattle Classic tournament is co-sponsored by Concordia and Cattle Bank and Trust. The event raises money and canned goods for the Blue Valley Community Action’s Food Pantry. Fans are encouraged to bring canned goods in return for admission to the games. 10 canned goods will grant one adult access for a weekend pass. Six canned goods will cover one adult for one game. Concordia students and children can bring six canned goods for a weekend pass or three per game.
Starting the game off for the Bulldogs were juniors Taylor Cockerill and Rylee Pauli. Making up the rest of the lineup were freshmen Bailey Conrad, Taysha Rushton, and Kendal Brigham. Head coach Drew Olson enters his 15th season with his team currently ranked at 11th within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, preseason poll. Showing off a much younger team compared to last year, the Bulldogs have a lot of room to grow.
“Our freshmen were ok,” says Olson. “They will keep getting better with experience and feeling more comfortable.”
The Bulldogs and the Trojans each had a large number of turnovers in the first half. It was a back and forth fight as Concordia entered halftime with the lead at 42-39. The Bulldogs had a shooting percentage of 37% going 10-for-27.
Olson noted how Dakota State played tough defense. Entering the second half, the Bulldogs had a tough time finding the bottom of the net. The Trojans sprinted ahead to take their biggest lead by 18 points with a score of 87-69 in the fourth quarter. The Bulldog’s shooting percentage took quite a dip lowering to 31.1%.
Taylor Cockerill made her debut back on the court after coming back from sitting out the entire 2019-20 season due to knee surgery. Cockerill scored 33 points with 14 rebounds and four steals, earning a double-double. She will play a huge part on the floor this season for the younger team.
The Dakota State Trojans were a tough first matchup. The Trojans previously took down number eight ranked Dordt University and now number 11 Concordia.
“Saturday will be another tough game against a great opponent,” says Olson. “We need to do a better job limiting easy baskets and open shots and not turn the ball over as much.”
The once Walz Arena was renamed the Friedrich Arena in honor of Rev. Dr. Brian Friedrich and Dr. Laurie Friedrich. Brian Friedrich served as Concordia University’s 10th President for 15 years. A dedication ceremony is currently planned for this spring.
The Bulldogs will play at 2 p.m. in the newly named Friedrich Arena this Saturday against Carroll College.