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Home Sports Women’s basketball narrowly loses to Defenders, 81-78

Junior forward Sadie Powell (35) takes a shot at the basket, narrowly missing being blocked by her opponent.

Photo credit: Esther Molina (photo from previous game)

By Cohen Carpenter


In the rematch between the Great Plains Athletic Conference’s best, the Dordt Defenders defended their title as the Concordia Bulldogs attempted to usurp them as the conference’s top dog. For the second time in as many weeks Dordt staved off an upset against Concordia, 81-78.

The game started in much the same way the previous Feb. 5 matchup, with the squads putting together fierce showings on both sides of the court.

The first quarter opened as one would expect. Concordia and Dordt – while also being the two most well-rounded teams in the GPAC in terms of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics rankings – also represent the two most potent offenses in the GPAC. Dordt averages 85.2 points per game while Concordia averages a more modest 81.1, rankings good for fifth and 20th in the NAIA, respectively.

With that being said, both teams put up big numbers in the first with the Bulldogs holding the lead for a vast majority of the opening frame. The Bulldogs and the Defenders both shot over 45 percent in the first 10 minutes, combining for a total of 43 points. While Dordt held an early lead in the opening seconds, Concordia ended the first quarter up 22-21.

The second quarter told a different story as the Defenders began to separate themselves. After shooting 9-19 from the field in the first 10 minutes, the Bulldogs went 5-16 over the next 10. More notable however was the Defenders’ offensive efforts, an apparent inversion of Concordia’s. Dordt was uncharacteristic from beyond the arch in the first quarter, shooting a measly 1-5. No matter, as Dordt was able to increase that number to 6-12 in the second.

By this point the Bulldogs had squarely lost their lead and headed into halftime down nine in a crucial conference matchup.

The third quarter started just as poorly as the second ended. Halfway through the opening frame of the second half the Bulldogs found themselves down 17 points to the No. 5 offense in the country. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs roared back, bringing the game back to a seven-point lead for the Defenders following an 8-0 run.

With 7:35 left in the game, the Bulldogs lost one of their key pieces to both the offense and defense, guard Mackenzie Toomey, who fouled out. This left Concordia down a man as the most important stretch of the game loomed. The junior still dazzled in an abbreviated showing, boasting five rebounds, two steals and 10 points on 3-7 shooting from the field and 3-4 from the charity stripe.

The Bulldogs nevertheless performed admirably, out-shooting and out-scoring the Defenders in the final frame. With less than a minute left to play in regulation, the game was well within reach. Following an Abby Kreiser lay-up and one, Dordt’s lead shrank to 79-78.

Alas, this was the last shot that Concordia made in the contest, and Dordt extended their lead as Concordia attempted to play the foul-game. When the final whistle rang out, the Defenders remained undefeated in conference play.

Despite the loss, the game was not without its impressive individual performances on Concordia’s side of the ball.

Leading the way for the Bulldogs was junior forward Sadie Powell who dropped a career-high 22 points on a lethal 5-9 performance from downtown and 8-13 from the field. Powell had two rebounds and an assist to boot.

Senior guard Taysha Rushton had a more modest game from beyond the arch as the Texan went 2-8 from downtown and 4-13 from the field, good for 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

The starters weren’t the only Bulldogs getting in on the action, as junior guard Kendal Brigham, who head coach Drew Olsen has used liberally from the bench this season, dropped 19 points, four rebounds and five assists on 8-18 shooting from the field.

Despite another heartbreaker, the Bulldogs still are second in the GPAC, comfortably in the postseason hunt as the regular season winds down. Concordia will be back in action Wednesday Feb. 21 in Friedrich Arena against Hastings College. Tip off will be at 6 p.m.

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