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PHOENIX, Ariz. – There were no signs that the third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team had gone 11 days between games. In their first outing since an 82-68 win at No. 1 Dakota Wesleyan, the Bulldogs dominated from the opening tip in a 105-63 win over 21st-ranked Arizona Christian University on Thursday evening (Dec. 27). Concordia left Nebraska early on Wednesday morning in order to make its way to the Arizona Christian Holiday Classic.
Thirteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has now made victims out of six nationally-ranked opponents this season. The Bulldogs stand at 13-1 overall.
“It was really impressive what we did in the first half,” Olson said. “I thought we did a great job of getting the ball inside and not settling. Then we were able to open up a lot of shooters and we were able to knock down shots.
“Philly (Lammers) was just dominant. I also thought Colby (Duvel) played really, really well. When you can do that (inside), the defense has to adjust. That’s what got our shooters open.”
Using superior depth, Concordia pushed the tempo exactly to its liking. At this point in the season, Olson has plenty of reason to be confident going at least 10 deep, no matter the competitiveness of the contest. It would be challenging to highlight just one individual after 40 minutes of textbook team Bulldog basketball. Collectively, Concordia shot 51.2 percent (42-for-82) from the floor and outhustled the opposition to the tune of a 58-34 rebound advantage.
Four Bulldogs notched at least 10 points, led by 18 Philly Lammers (eight rebounds), as the visitors took turns scorching the net. When the Firestorm made a bit of a nudge in the second quarter, Taylor Cockerill sliced into the lane for a pretty finish. Cockerill (14) Colby Duvel (14) and Grace Barry (10) each joined Lammers in double figures. Duvel added eight rebounds in her 14 minutes of action.
Not only that, NAIA Division I leading scorer Courtney Christmas of Arizona Christian was held off the scoreboard entirely in the first half. She entered the evening averaging 23.3 points, but managed only six on 3-for-12 shooting on Thursday. As a team, the Firestorm (9-5) shot 37.8 percent (28-for-74) from the field. It trailed 33-22 after the first quarter and watched as Concordia put up 26 or more points in three periods.
“Our kids did a great job knowing where (Christmas) was at in the high post,” Olson said. “When she did catch it, we had really good help coming over and just bothered her all night.”
Arizona Christian had not been used to getting bullied in this fashion. The Firestorm came into play having won four in a row, including a home victory over then 14th-ranked The Master’s University (Calif.). Arizona Christian is a member of the NAIA’s Golden State Athletic Conference.
The host may not have been accustomed to seeing an opponent employ such depth to go along with a frenetic style. Four Firestorm players average more than 30 minutes per game. It had to deal with Concordia’s entire roster on Thursday. Fourteen Bulldogs registered in the scoring column. Elsie Aslesen recorded eight points and five boards off the bench and Delani Fahey pushed Concordia past the 100-point mark with a late triple.
The Bulldogs will play their second and final game of the ACU Holiday Classic on Friday. Tipoff from Fultz Memorial Gymnasium is set for 5:30 p.m. MST / 6:30 p.m. CST in a matchup that will feature Concordia against second-ranked Southeastern University (Fla.) (11-1). The Fire suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of No. 6 Indiana Tech on Dec. 21.