BY RUSSELL HEITMANN
PHOTOS BY AMANDA MILLER
VIDEO BY MCKENZIE WEDEL AND AUSTIN REMM
In order to find the last time the No. 1 Concordia Bulldogs and the No. 3 Jamestown Jimmies met, you don’t have to look far. The second quarter-final matchup of the NAIA Division II Women’s National Basketball Championship is a rematch of a game that took place earlier this season. Jimmie’s Head Coach, Greg Ulland, had few words to say about how that game fared when asked about a possible rematch.
“They came up to our place and whooped us pretty good,” said Ulland.
He wasn’t lying. The Bulldogs handled Jamestown 90-72, but Ulland said if his team got another crack at Concordia, his team would have revenge on their mind. Concordia would douse these hopes of revenge though, winning 76-59.
Jamestown jumped out to an early 13-5 lead behind Jessica Buck’s hot shooting and solid rebounding. Buck had eight points and six rebounds at the half; however, she went to the bench after picking up her third foul with eight minutes remaining. Concordia took advantage of her absence taking the lead 21-19. Both teams traded baskets until the break where Jamestown held a slight lead, 32-31.
Ulland said losing Buck to foul trouble was a blow to his team.
“I don’t know if there are many adjustments you make when you lose an All-American type player,” said Ulland. “When she steps out, that changes the whole aspect of what we do offensively because we don’t have many players like her. It’s very different when she’s not on the floor.”
One area where Concordia struggled was on the glass. The Jimmies outrebounded Concordia 29-16 in the first half and 50-29 for the game. Bulldogs Head Coach, Drew Olson, recognizes this was an issue for his team but they found a way around it.
“They killed us on the boards,” said Olson. “I do feel like we were able to find ways to get stops and then knock down shots on the other end.”
The second half provided much of the same excitement as neither team was able to gain an advantage until midway through the half when Concordia took a ten point lead, 55-45. The Bulldogs slowly pulled away down the stretch ensuring their victory.
Buck credits Concordia’s shot making for helping them to pull away.
“They made those wide open threes that we gave them,” said Buck. “They made them when they needed to and they stepped up so kudos to them.”
With the win, Concordia will face a familiar foe in fellow Great Plains Athletic Conference member, No. 5 Briar Cliff. Olson said Briar Cliff is playing some of their best basketball.
“The worry is that they are a really good team and they’re playing really well. That zone they play is really tough to crack,” said Olson. “Offensively they run some really good stuff so it’s going to be a tough game.”
Jamestown ends their year with a 26-7 record in what was a very successful season. Coach Ulland hopes this experience at the National Championship will motivate his team in the future.
“It’s something that these kids get a little taste of and it’s really cool to be a part of,” said Ulland. “I think now that they have a little taste of it then it will kick them in the butt a little bit.”
Bailey Morris was the game’s leading scorer, ending with 20 points and also handed out five assists. Mary Janovich and Tracy Peitz weren’t far behind, scoring 19 and 17 points respectively for the Bulldogs. Jessica Buck ended with 12 points and seven rebounds for the Jimmies while Bryn Woodside had 10.
Concordia and Briar Cliff will meet in the second semi-final matchup in Tyson Events Center on Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Catch up on previous game recaps:
Round 1, Concordia (Neb): No. 1 Concordia (Neb.) – 76 vs. No. 8 Bryan (Tenn.) – 35
Bulldogs Avenge Previous First Rounds Losses, Defeats Bryan