Sioux City, Iowa - The No. 2 Concorida Bulldogs women’s basketball squad earned a hard fought 80-68 win over No. 7 Grand View (Iowa) in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Division II National Championships on Saturday, March 10 in Sioux City, Iowa.
The victory moves Concordia University, Nebraska into the semifinals of the national tournament on Monday, March 12 at 8 p.m. The Bulldogs will face No. 3 College of the Ozarks (Mo.), who defeated No. 24 Eastern Oregon 74-55 earlier in the day.
Following Saturday’s action, Concordia’s record advanced to 34-2, while Grand View ended its season with a 30-6 record.
The Bulldogs moved through the first two games in the NAIA National Championships relatively untested, collecting convincing back-to-back victories over Sterling (78-54) and No. 15 Cardinal Stritch (69-48).
All that changed on Saturday night as the Vikings gave Concordia a serious push.
The Bulldogs bounded out to a 13-4 lead in the opening six minutes as six different Concordia players scratched the scoring column. Sophomore Kristen Conahan (Omaha, Neb.) led the charge with three of her game-high 28 points.
The Vikings ended Concordia’s run on a three-ball from Kristin Rasmussen with 13:29 left in the first half. Concordia maintained its edge through the majority of the first half, holding a 31-25 advantage with four minutes remaining in the period.
Over the final four minutes, however, it was Grand View that surged. The Vikings outscored Concordia 14-2 to take a 39-33 lead into halftime.
Grand View continued to extend its lead as the second half began with a 6-2 run to take a 45-35 lead with 17:29 remaining in the game.
Concordia senior Amber Kistler (Minatare, Neb.) had seen enough, so she took matters into her own hands. Kistler scored five points in the next 27 seconds, by draining a three-pointer, then converting a steal into a layup.
Kistler’s efforts rallied the Bulldogs as Concordia stormed on a 16-2 run to take a 51-47 lead with 14:47 left in the game. In addition to Kistler’s five points, junior Katie Rich (Tilden, Neb.) added four during the run.
The two teams battled back-and-forth for the next few minutes with Grand View reclaiming a one-point lead (56-55) with 11:11 to go.
Freshman Jerrica Pearson (Gibbon, Neb.) reclaimed the lead for Concordia on a short jumper, then Conahan converted a three-point play to put the Bulldogs in front at 60-56 with 10:51 remaining.
Trailing 63-62 with 7:59 left, the Bulldogs delivered the knockout blow with a 13-3 surge. Rich and freshman Bailey Morris (Roseland, Neb.) combined for 12 points during the run, six each to give Concordia some breathing room at 75-66 with just under two minutes left in the game.
Conahan’s 28 points led Concordia, while Morris finished with 16 points and Rich added 13 points.
Jennifer Jorgensen, who finished with 19 points, led Grand View.