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Concordia dogs St. Francis in battle of top 15 teams

Concordia dogs St. Francis in battle of top 15 teams

SEWARD, Neb. – For some opponents, it must feel like the Concordia University women’s basketball team is playing with six players on the court. That would seem to reasonably explain how the first four Bulldog foes are averaging more than 40 turnovers per game. Top-ranked Concordia forced 41 more turnovers Saturday afternoon (Nov. 3) while pummeling 14th-ranked University of Saint Francis (Ind.), 84-55, as part of the 19th annual Cattle Classic.

Thirteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has now made victims out of two top 15 nationally-ranked squads as part of its 4-0 start. The Bulldogs also own a victory over No. 15 Indiana Wesleyan University.

“I thought that was a really good team that we just beat,” Olson said. “Our kids played awesome defensively to force 41 turnovers against a team that is probably going to the national tournament. That says a lot. That’s a really good team. I was just really impressed with our ball movement. We shared the ball a lot better today.”

Junior Grace Barry and Philly Lammers were both named to the All-Cattle Classic team. In the latest contest, Lammers needed only 16 minutes to pile up 18 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the field. She also swiped four steals while contributing to another suffocating defensive performance. Barry led the way with five thefts while putting up eight points and five assists.

This game really got out of hand in the third quarter when Concordia built an 11-point halftime advantage (43-32) up to a 23-point lead (61-38) with an 18-6 run punctuated by a MacKenzie Helman trey. The Cougars of the NAIA’s Crossroads League never got closer than 16 points the rest of the way.

Just like Friday, many Bulldogs got in on the fun. After totaling 17 points in the win over Peru State College, Taryn Schuette added 11 more on Saturday to lead the bench group. Taylor Cockerill (11 points, five rebounds, two steals) joined Lammers in double figures as part of a balanced attack. Quinn Wragge (nine points, four steals, four assists) also had a nice afternoon. So too did freshman Mackenzie Koepke (eight points, three steals) off the bench.

“It was really awesome that we were able to do that against such a great team,” Lammers said. “I think it came a lot from our defense, which always helps out. We forced a lot of turnovers and were able to capitalize on that.”

An All-American last season, Kara Gerka topped Saint Francis (1-1) with 19 points and 11 rebounds. She was also named to the All-Cattle Classic team.

The Bulldogs now get ready for conference play next week. Concordia will return to the site of its only regular-season loss in 2017-18 when it takes on Midland (3-0) in Fremont, Neb., for a 6 p.m. tipoff on Tuesday. The Warriors have started impressively by earning wins over Central Methodist College and Bellevue University in the opening week of nonconference play.

All-Cattle Classic Team

Haylee Heits, Doane

Swaranga Fernando, Peru State

Kara Gerka, St. Francis

Grace Barry, Concordia

Philly Lammers, Concordia

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