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Hot shooting Warriors take out Bulldogs in GPAC opener

Hot shooting Warriors take out Bulldogs in GPAC opener

SEWARD, Neb. – Lexis Haase and her Midland teammates took it to the 11th-ranked Concordia University Women’s Basketball team on Tuesday (Nov. 10) evening. The Warriors seemingly knocked down every open 3-point shot they found while building a lead as large as 22 points inside Friedrich Arena. Quick-start Midland remained unbeaten in the early going while leaving town with a 91-79 victory.

It’s an odd feeling right now for 15th-year Head Coach Drew Olson’s program, which has dropped three-straight home games to open up the 2020-21 season. On this night, stops were hard to come by. The Warriors went 14-for-26 from long range.

“Midland played well. When they shoot like that, they can beat anybody in the league,” Olson said. “I think we are starting to figure things out about our team. I thought (Mackenzie) Toomey and Faith (Troshynski) gave us a good spark. Becca (Higgins) played well too.”

Seemingly every time the Bulldogs made a push, Haase (game high 24 points) or Kennedy Darner (18 points) buried a perimeter jumper. Those two snipers combined to go 12-for-20 from beyond the arc. Midland (4-0, 1-0 GPAC) also enjoyed success in the post on an evening when it clicked offensively. Its 48.5 percent shooting from the floor (and 13-for-16 effort from the foul line) was more than enough to overcome 19 turnovers.

A positive for Concordia was its higher level of energy and execution after halftime. Senior Faith Troshynski provided a nice lift off the bench with her 11 points. In a third-quarter sequence, Troshynski scored in transition, then stole the ball and dished to Taylor Cockerill for two. The Bulldogs got within 64-50 at the time. However, they were never able to cut the deficit to single digits at any point in the second half.

Freshman Taysha Rushton is only going to get better in the navy and white. She led the way with 23 points to go along with five steals in her 31 minutes of action. For Cockerill (7-for-21 from the floor) it was a bit of a grind, but she posted 17 points and nine rebounds. Toomey (three steals) gave Midland some problems with her length and hustle in the backcourt. Taylor Farrell also added 10 points.

The Warriors look like they could be on track to outperform the outside expectations. Coach Shawn Gilbert rotated only seven players, five of which reached double figures in scoring. Both Haase (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Makenna Sullivan (17 points, 11 rebounds) notched double-doubles. A second quarter splurge (31-16 scoring advantage) staked the visitors to a 53-32 lead at the half. Midland has already defeated three 2020 national tournament qualifiers.

Cockerill’s 17 points moved her career total to 991. The Waverly High School product is averaging 24.3 points and 9.3 rebounds through this season’s first three games.

Concordia will continue home action on Saturday when Northwestern (0-2, 0-0 GPAC) will be in town for a 2 p.m. CT tipoff. It will be the GPAC opener for the Red Raiders, who are slated to host Dakota State University on Wednesday night. Northwestern went 17-11 (12-10 GPAC) last season and missed out on the national tournament.

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