Mackenzie Helman leaps to shoot. Photo courtesy of Lyric Allen.
By Elisha Meyer
The Concordia University Bulldogs gave a near-capacity crowd something to cheer for, picking up the program’s biggest win of the season against the once undefeated Hastings Broncos 53-46.
Concordia students used to the relatively quick drive to their very own Walz Arena were held up by traffic jams. Vehicles containing Concordia and Hastings fans were still streaming into the parking lots five minutes after tip-off. So much parking space was needed that Concordia students were advised by student life administration to walk the distance rather than drive it.
The Bulldogs had the Jan. 8 loss to the Broncos fresh on the mind. That chip on the shoulder resulted in an early 15-5 lead for Concordia. Hastings fought back to a five-point deficit, but to no avail. The Bulldogs maintained their lead throughout the first and second periods, and never let the game get closer than five points.
The Bulldogs made an impact where they had not in the first game with the Broncos: the defense. Hastings was held to just a 21.4 field goal percentage in the first half. The Bulldogs also kept the Broncos under 50 points, making it the sixth time an opponent has failed to score 50 or more points.
Hasting’s defense was also on point. Despite a final shooting percentage of 46.3% and a first half percentage of 55%, the Broncos stayed within reach of the lead throughout. Concordia was at a rare disadvantage when it came to the turnover count, with Hastings winning the battle 24-13. The lead was cut to as little as five points on several occasions. Emma Grenfell kept the Bulldogs on their toes with 12 points, followed by Kaitlyn Schmit with nine points.
The game’s two leading scorers were at it again for the Bulldogs. Seniors Philomena Lammers and Grace Barry combined for two-thirds of the team’s points. Lammers came away with 19 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Barry stayed close behind with 17 points and eight assists.
The Bulldogs (24-2) will host their final home game of the season on Saturday against Mount Marty College.
Hastings (26-1) will have little time to recover before also playing on Saturday against ninth-ranked Dordt University.