SEWARD, Neb. – Even an opponent led by an All-American point guard is not immune to the landmines that have detonated on foes of the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team. For the second game in a row, the Bulldogs absorbed a third quarter push from the opposition. The latest outing turned into an 82-68 victory over 13th-ranked Hastings inside Walz Arena on Wednesday (Nov. 14).
Thirteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s top-ranked squad remains unbeaten at 7-0 overall and 3-0 in conference play. Concordia has an active streak of 39-straight home wins.
“That’s probably going to be one of the hardest teams to press because of Shandra Farmer,” Olson said. “I thought we did a really good job, especially in that first half. I was really pleased with how we could extend the lead in that second quarter. Again we came out flat in the third quarter. We have to set the tone better, especially on the defensive end.”
The visiting Broncos did manage to cut their turnovers down from 20 in the first half to nine in the second half. But by the break, Hastings found itself in a 15-point hole (44-29). A dominant second quarter by the Bulldogs saw point guard Grace Barry delight the crowd. She even dropped a no-look dime to Philly Lammers on the break. The half ended with Barry scoring on a pretty finish at the rack. Said Olson, “She’s a really dynamic player, very creative. We are not the team we are without her.”
If you want to nitpick, Concordia did allow its opposition to get back in the game in the third quarter for the second-straight outing. With Farmer leading the way, Hastings (3-2, 2-1 GPAC) found an offensive groove after regrouping and poured in 16 points in the opening 4:10 of the third quarter. It whittled the Bulldog lead down to six (51-45).
Concordia kept coming. An 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter made for an 18-point (74-56) cushion that made it a real chore for the visitors. After working through some early foul trouble, Philly Lammers (14 points, eight rebounds) got rolling. Then with a chance to put the nail in the coffin, Taylor Cockerill drained a dagger of a triple in the closing minutes.
These rock fights with the Broncos are no bother to a scrapper like junior Colby Duvel. She came off the bench early on and finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
“You’re putting two teams together that work hard every day,” Duvel said. “When you get two teams that are really competitive, we just want to be the team that comes out on top. Battling inside just fuels the fire. It creates for a great atmosphere and a great game.”
Cockerill led all players with 17 points on 5-for-12 shooting from the floor. Barry once again did it all. The team’s catalyst posted 14 points, eight assists and seven steals to just two turnovers. Senior Quinn Wragge chipped in with 14 points and six rebounds.
Farmer battled foul trouble of her own that limited her to 15 minutes (12 points). Mackenzie Willicott (14) and Kennedy Sander (13) also reached double figures in scoring.
Concordia used the night to raise money and support for Jackson Einspahr, a fourth grader at St. John Lutheran School in Seward. The son of former track and field and cross country head coach Kregg Einspahr, Jackson has been undergoing chemotherapy to treat his cancer.
The Bulldogs will remain at home on Saturday to host 16th-ranked Jamestown (5-1, 2-0 GPAC) in another clash with a ranked opponent (fourth so far this season). The Jimmies are in their first season as a member of the GPAC and also have a new head coach in CUNE graduate Thad Sankey. Tipoff on Saturday is set for 2 p.m. CT from Walz Arena.