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Home Sports Women’s basketball wins quarterfinal Morningside matchup, 86-65

Sophomore guard Megan Belt (10) watches the ball just after taking a shot that would become a successful Bulldog basket. 

Photo credit: Courtney Wright

By Cohen Carpenter


Concordia looked to be in prime playoff form Wednesday night as they sent the ponies packing in the first round of the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament with an 86-65 victory over the Morningside Mustangs.

In what is beginning to become a nearly annual occurrence for the Bulldogs, Concordia put on a show in Friedrich Arena in the quarterfinal matchup, outplaying the Mustangs on both ends of the court. In many areas, Wednesday night might have constituted the most complete game of basketball Concordia has played up until this point in the season.

When asked if this was one of the more complete games the Bulldogs have played, Head Coach Drew Olsen replied that it was close to the top.

“I would say it’s pretty close,” he said. “I felt like we played an overall really good game, we want to just keep getting better and peak towards the end.”

The writing was on the wall early as the Bulldogs were scoring early and often. In the first quarter, the home team nearly doubled the Mustang’s shooting percentage. Concordia made eight of sixteen in the first ten minutes while Morningside could only muster five of nineteen.

The shooting woes continued for the Mustangs as the averages remained consistent throughout the game. With 1:58 left in the first quarter, Concordia took a ten point lead. By 8:15 in the second, Concordia had doubled up the Mustangs, leading 28-14.

However, as many Falcons, Yankees, and Warriors fans can tell you, a lead means nothing unless the game (or series) ends. Luckily for those in attendance Wednesday night, the Bulldogs did not get complacent, as they continued to score consistently even as the lead grew larger.

“I thought we did a really good job on both sides,” said Coach Olsen on not letting Morningside mount a comeback. “We had some breakdowns at times but for the most part, we played really well with good team defense. On offense, I felt like we did a great job taking care of the ball… It helps when you make shots, and we made a lot of shots.”

And shoot they did. Concordia finished the game amazingly having a better three-point percentage than field goal percentage, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. On 60 shots from the field, the Bulldogs made 31, good for a .517 clip. From downtown, Concordia let it fly 27 times, with 14 of those attempts finding the net, good for a .519 percentage.

Leading the way for the Bulldogs in the scoring department was guard Taysha Rushton, who was celebrated last game during Concordia’s senior day festivities. The Bulldog’s leading scorer did just that, scoring 27 points, two rebounds and two assists on 9 for 12 shooting from the field and only missing one three, going five for six in that department.

Junior guard Kendal Brigham had another excellent night off the bench. With 12 points, seven assists, and three rebounds on four for nine shooting, the Wahoo, Neb. native was emblematic of the team’s overall efficiency on the night.

Including Rushton and Brigham, four Bulldogs notched double digits in the scoring column while nine players put points on the board overall.

Late in the fourth quarter, Concordia had played themselves into the luxury of allowing some of the underclassmen to get playoff minutes. The last two minutes saw four freshman Bulldogs on the court.

“It’s great to see,” said Coach Olsen about Concordia’s bench seeing time on the court, “The more experience we can give them, the better. Preparing them for when it’s their time, it was a great thing for them.”

Concordia will be looking to continue the smooth ride through the GPAC tournament on Sat., Mar. 2, versus Briar Cliff University at 3 p.m.

“We have to continue to stay focused, stick to the game plan, and continue playing good basketball,” said Coach Olsen about the next round of the tournament.

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