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Home Sports Women’s basketball season ends with 73-66 loss to Argonauts

Junior guard Hanna Spearman (12) going in to the basket to make a shot. 

Photo credit: Josiah Seabaugh (photo from previous game)

By Cohen Carpenter


In heartbreaking fashion, the Bulldogs season ended Thursday afternoon as the Bulldogs were bested by the University of Providence Argonauts, 73-66 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics round of sixteen.

Concordia came into the contest with the NAIA’s seventeenth best offense, averaging well over 80 points per game. Providence on the other hand, hung their hat this season on stout defensive play, boasting the conference’s 30th best scoring defense, allowing only 60 points a game from opposing offenses.

This contrast made itself clear as from the first whistle, as both offenses and defenses exchanged blows in the opening minutes, proving themselves to be quite evenly matched. The largest run either team exploited in the first half was a 5-0 run halfway through the first quarter by the Bulldogs.

Despite the even scoring affair, the Bulldogs still found themselves trailing at halftime by the Argonauts largest lead of the night, 38-31. Through two quarters of play, the major discrepancies were the two offenses. Providence went 13-32 from the field while Concordia was not far behind, making 11-28. However, nine of the Argonauts’ 13 shots were made from beyond the arch, while Concordia was only able to muster a 3-11 shooting percentage from downtown.

Concordia was able to maintain a form of dominance in the paint in the first half however, doubling up the Argonauts with 12 points under the rim compared to Providence’s six. Making the stat more impressive was the fact that Providence boasted two starters at six feet or taller. Concordia on the other hand put forward the same, guard-heavy lineup that has brought them success throughout the season.

In fact, this seemed to be Coach Drew Olsen’s gameplan heading into the contest. Given Providence’s size advantage, Concordia wanted to limit scoring opportunities at the basket as much as possible, forcing the Argonauts to beat them with their ranged scoring.

Following the halftime speech, Concordia quickly began to eat into their first half deficit. Down seven, the Bulldogs scored 10 of the next 14 to put Concordia within one. On the other side of the court, the Argonauts were introduced to some poor shooting of their own, opening the half with an 0-7 streak from downtown.

The lapse in Providence scoring gave the Bulldogs a chance to build a lead of their own. Doing just that, with 8:28 left in the contest, a Kendal Brigham layup put the Bulldogs up 56-49, their largest lead of the night. However, it didn’t last.

Following their 0-7 streak, Providence made eight of their next 14 three point shots, squarely putting themselves back on top, taking the lead once more in the final minutes, going up 59-58 with 5:59 left in the game.

From this point onward, Concordia only made two more field goals. While the Bulldogs made the most of their opportunities at the charity stripe, the lack of offense proved too high a hurdle to overcome and the Bulldogs fell 73-66.

Despite the 0-7 streak to start the second half, Providence still made nearly half of their three point attempts, finishing the night making 14-30 from downtown- ten more than the Bulldogs. In fact, Concordia, despite being a team that averages over ten three-pointers made in a game, only shot 25 percent from downtown, going 4-16.

Individually, Kendal Brigham showed up and showed out. After becoming a mainstay in the starting lineup in recent weeks, the senior guard has put up gaudy numbers with the additional minutes. Friday, this came in the way of 18 points on 6-15 shooting with five rebounds and an assist.

However, as the team numbers would indicate, the Bulldogs did not shoot well as a whole. Aside from seniors Taysha Rushton and Sadie Powell, who had 15 and 13 points, both shooting 2-3 from three, the rest of the Concordia squad was a combined 0-10 from beyond the arch.

The loss marked the end of the season for the Bulldogs, which saw Concordia ranked throughout the season, finishing second in the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament and having five players (Rushton, Powell, Brigham, Krieser, and Toomey) receive all-GPAC honors. Despite the outcome, it can’t be denied that Coach Olsen’s 2023-2024 squad gave plenty for the Bulldog faithful to cheer about throughout the year.

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