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Morningside stuns top-ranked Bulldogs in Walz

Morningside stuns top-ranked Bulldogs in Walz

SEWARD, Neb. – Normally it’s the Concordia University women’s basketball program that wears its opponents down by the fourth quarter. Not this time. Eighth-ranked Morningside befuddled the Bulldogs at times with its 2-3 zone while playing unafraid down the stretch. The Mustangs got a big performance from Skyler Snider off the bench and pulled the upset, 84-75, over the top-ranked Bulldogs on Wednesday night (Nov. 28).

The loss snapped a 40-game home win streak for 13th-year head coach Drew Olson’s program, which had won the previous five meetings with Morningside. Concordia (9-1, 5-1 GPAC) has been knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten.

“I really feel like they just made more easy baskets,” Olson said. “We gave up way too many easy baskets, whether we were in our press, whether we were in our half-court zone or whether we were in man. We weren’t the tougher team today and that’s really disappointing knowing the type of team that we have.”

The way the third quarter opened made this contest feel a little like some of the other comfortable wins the Bulldogs had earned during the home win streak. The Mustangs quickly called timeout in the third quarter after a Grace Barry steal led to a Quinn Wragge layup. At that point, Concordia had equaled its largest lead of 11 (53-42).

The Bulldogs still clung to a 64-60 lead in the fourth quarter before things began to unravel. Morningside then put together a 9-0 run in a stretch that partly defined the game. Though Mustang star Sierra Mitchell did not have her best shooting night, she began the spurt with a bucket and added a deep triple that provided the visitors a lead they would not relinquish. Morningside sealed it on the defensive end by not surrendering a field goal over the final two minutes of the game (0-for-6 from the field by Concordia).

“I told them we have to be a little bit more responsible and mature,” Olson said. “We go on a big break and I’m not sure we came back ready. That was the start of it and then we have to be focused at practice every single day and be sharper every single day.”

MacKenzie Helman shook off a shooting slump to help keep the Bulldogs tight in the final minutes. She drilled two of her four 3-point field goals in the fourth quarter, including one that brought the Bulldogs within one (74-73) with 2:13 left in the game. Helman (12 points) was joined by teammates in Wragge (18 points, 11 rebounds), Philly Lammers (13 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, three steals) and Taylor Cockerill (11 points) in double figures. Barry added 11 assists. Wragge became the 10th player in program history to eclipse 1,500 career points.

Snyder topped Morningside (7-1, 5-1 GPAC) with 17 points. Mitchell totaled 14 and Sydney Hupp (11 points, 10 rebounds) produced a double-double. The Mustangs owned a massive advantage at the foul line (22-for-28 compared to 6-for-7) and committed a reasonable 21 turnovers. Concordia (7-for-30 from 3-point range) was unable to burn the Mustang zone from beyond the arc.

The Bulldogs will now have another break in the schedule with a bye coming this weekend. Concordia will return to action next Wednesday with a short road trip to Doane (2-9, 0-6 GPAC) for a 6 p.m. CT tipoff from the Haddix Center. The upset-minded Tigers actually led the Bulldogs entering the fourth quarter of both of last season’s meetings. Concordia won by scores of 76-63 in Crete and 68-59 in Seward.

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