HASTINGS, Neb. – It’s just not fair when the Concordia University women’s basketball team combines red hot shooting with its typically devastating press. The second-ranked Bulldogs had it all working in a 102-85 blowout of 21st-ranked Hastings inside Lynn Farrell Arena on Wednesday night (Jan. 9). Concordia made 10 of its first 19 attempts from 3-point range and held a 30-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
This was about as torrid of an offensive road performance as 13th-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has put together this season. For the third game in a row, the Bulldogs put up at least 30 points in the opening quarter while improving to 16-2 overall (10-2 GPAC).
“We knew their depth was kind of depleted so our game plan was to make the game go in a frenzied pace,” Olson said. “That’s usually how we want to play anyway, but we really wanted to pressure them and wear them out. Part of that first half was a little bit of craziness, but I thought we played well and shot well.
It’s without question that the Broncos have been weakened by the injury that has sidelined their All-American point guard Shandra Farmer, who last played on Dec. 1. With Farmer again out of the lineup, Concordia pounced in a contest that got out of hand quickly. Elsie Aslesen, Taylor Cockerill and Riley Sibbel all canned a triple apiece as part of a 21-5 spurt to open up the game.
It may not have mattered if Farmer had played considering how the Bulldogs torched the nets. They shot just under a season best field goal percentage of 51.4 while blowing away the scoring average (67.1) Hastings opponents had sported entering the night. Though the Broncos (10-8, 6-6 GPAC) put forth a solid shooting effort of their own, they lacked the firepower to dig out of a significant hole.
Not surprisingly, balance was again a theme for the Concordia attack. Grace Barry (seven assists) carved up the Hastings defense with 19 points in one of her more aggressive offensive outings as a Bulldog. Four teammates joined her in double figures: Quinn Wragge (16), Philly Lammers (14), Cockerill (12) and Aslesen (11). The 11 tallies were a career high for Aslesen, a freshman from Elk Point, S.D. It was also a stellar night for junior Riley Sibbel, who chipped in nine points and swiped six steals.
“I loved her attack today,” Olson said of Aslesen. “She came in with a good mindset and knocked down some shots. I thought the biggest thing for her was her defense. She did a really good job diving back down in the zone and helping out. She got a couple steals that way.”
Olson hopes to continue to bring along bench players such as freshmen Claire Cornell and Rylie Pauli. Cornell put up five points and Pauli scored a bucket in transition. Said Olson, “It was good for those kids. To get them experience is an awesome thing. Hopefully they keep getting more confident.”
On the other end, the Broncos shot 46.7 percent from the floor and got a team high 15 points apiece from Gabby Grasso and Kaitlyn Schmit. Taylor Beacom (14) and Mackenzie Willicott (12) also put up double digit point totals. Hastings got beaten soundly despite a near even turnover margin (28-27). Concordia won the rebound battle, 37-32.
Barry and company earned a regular-season sweep of Hastings and also picked up its ninth victory this season over a top 25 opponent. According to Massey Ratings, the Bulldogs have played the nation’s most challenging schedule.
Concordia will be back inside Walz Arena on Saturday to welcome Briar Cliff (11-9, 5-7 GPAC) to town. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. CST. In this season’s first meeting that took place in Sioux City, Iowa, the Bulldogs forced 42 turnovers and trounced the Chargers, 99-71.